Is wind corporate farming?

Posted September 25th, 2009 by kcorliss. Comment (0).

I don’t know who Dennis Stillings is. But he recently wrote an editorial in the Valley City (ND) Times-Record newspaper which is worth thinking about. He takes a swing or two at the still-nascent wind industry here in North Dakota but does it from a couple different angles.

He makes a case for the negative effect on hunting:

The presence of 400-foot wind towers dramatically compromises the image of North Dakota as relatively unspoiled hunting country. One of North Dakota’s great assets is its feel of authenticity. In my opinion, once thousands of acres of good hunting land have been disfigured by hundreds of wind turbines, all the fuss about “canned hunting” becomes meaningless. I find it hard to imagine that out-of-state hunters, looking for an authentic hunting experience, would be happy to pay to hunt on land dominated by monster machines.
We’ve got the windmills and more are coming. Add a few large clown heads to the mix and we can have the hunting experience equivalent of a round of miniature golf.

Then there is the argument that there is the possibility wind "farms" may be in violation of North Dakota’s anti-corporate farming laws. (A specious point in my opinion but worth a moment of pause to at least think about it).

The North Dakota Anti-Corporate Farming Act has been in effect since 1932. Until 1981, all corporations — whether foreign or domestic — were prohibited from engaging in farming in North Dakota. In 1981, the North Dakota Legislative Assembly amended the law, providing that all corporations and limited liability companies were prohibited from owning or leasing land used for farming or ranching unless they met certain exemptions provided in the law. I do not know whether corporate wind farms such as NextEra meet those exemptions, or if anyone has considered the possible relevance of North Dakota corporate farming laws to the operation of wind farms, but the possibility is there.
The terms “farm” and “farming” are not confined to food crops. One definition of a farm is “an establishment at which something is produced or processed: an energy farm.”
Wind farms are energy farms. Wind farms transform a natural form of energy — wind — into a controllable and transmittable form of energy — electricity. So do food farmers transform the natural substances of soil, water and seed in the presence of light-energy into another form of energy — food.
Yes, corporate wind farms are indeed farms, but are they legal?

Read the full columnhere.

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