Local control should be the cornerstone of governance

Local control gives us our greatest strength and my message is constitutional authority is granted at the county level. I will never sway from that point.

In visiting the Republic County, Kansas, website there are plans for a wind energy project by the developer of NextERA Energy that have been the works since March, although the general public appears to have been made aware much later.

The project announced is a 559-megawatt output of electricity, which I believe makes it the largest wind project in Kansas and Nebraska. Data from the Republic County website indicates that NextERA Energy in the name of High Banks Wind project will contribute to Republic County of $932,201.86 and contributions of $745,758.14 per year for 10 years. Apparently, payments of this nature have become standard because counties have typically provided a 10-year tax abatement for similar projects.

Now right off the thing that caught my attention was the fact that Republic County has secured an attorney from Wichita who specializes in energy negotiations. In fact let me just share with you what Trish Voth’s website from Foulston Attorneys at Law says about her.

“Trish Voth heads up Foulston’s wind and solar energy practice, and is also a leader in the firm’s real estate practice, applying her 20 years of experience and commitment to the real estate, renewable energy, and legal industries.”

So one would think that this county has hired someone who understands the law and is committed to protecting the landowners of Republic County, Kansas. Well, that flies out the window, in my opinion, when you learn she is working for the “county” although her fees are paid by the wind developer NextERA Energy. That, my friends, is what really captured my attention in the entire situation.

I am an advocate for property rights and land ownership in the United States. When you talk about property rights, the landowners should have the right to sign up for wind turbine easements if they want to and I agree it is your land to use it as you see fit. But wait, there may be more.

A case in point comes from a conversation I recently had with Mike Nasi from Texas. Two years ago Nasi told me Texas was told that if you rely on more than 20% of your electricity to come from wind and solar, you are vulnerable to a crash. Today, for the record, Texas is 34% dependent on wind and solar, so get ready.

I saw Nasi again within the past month and he had new statistics that need to be shared. He told me that replacing a coal-fired power plant that has on average an 800 MW production output would require all the lithium mined in one year to make batteries. We all know that wind and solar are completely dependent on the battery system to store electricity produced for storage as needed. Folks, 95% of the rare earth minerals used to make these batteries comes from China. We are walking a path of China controlling us at every turn again if we turn away from the most reliable resources we have for energy production.

In closing, my friends in Cherry County, Nebraska, have been down all of these dusty trails when it comes to balancing the alternative energy capture yet maintaining property rights for all involved. One might be well served to look up their published plan for the expenses of demolition and managing the red blinking lights that created a system at the local government level that actually made sense.

We need total community buy in to the projects and if we continue to divide, we will be conquered.

Editor’s note: The views expressed here are the author’s own and do not represent the views of High Plains Journal. Trent Loos is a sixth generation United States farmer, host of the daily radio show, Loos Tales, and founder of Faces of Agriculture, a non-profit organization putting the human element back into the production of food. Get more information at www.LoosTales.com, or email Trent at [email protected].