Time marches on

Well, it has been over a year now since our fledgling group, Seneca Anti-Wind Union, was formed. To many people, we are saviors trying to stave off an industrial giant that is trying to wreck what we all hold dear and true in our lives — our home and property. On the other side of the fence is the disgust and angst that has been created by what can only be described as “a rift” in our community.

At the very bottom of all this lies money, and that is one indisputable fact that can not be argued by anyone. Unfortunately, however, the source of the money is what is at issue and, inevitably, the sacrifices needed to get it.

I have yet to talk to a farmer who legitimately has said they want to see 600-foot-tall imposing structures outside their windows 24 hours a day for 365 days a year over what may be the next 30 years of their lives. However, the folks who own land and live outside of our area could care less, just as long as that check comes in the mail every year.

But who am I to say? Well, that is why our group started — so we can say! Our society was founded on certain fundamentals and principles, with our Constitution being a guiding force in what we do. Property rights has been that one key battle over this entire wind debacle since it showed up in our quiet communities almost 10 years ago.

On one hand, the property leaseholders are arguing they should be able to do what they want with their land no matter what. On the other hand, the opponents of wind say that’s bogus because their property rights are affected by the very thing the leaseholders are agreeing to support.

So who is right? Maybe that will be left to the courts. Online, though, at CATO.org, the CATO Handbook for Policymakers has a very interesting writeup on property rights and how it was implied by our forefathers in the Fifth and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. It is a good read and worth the time to look over.

One key thing mentioned on that website suggests that property rights can and often do extend beyond our own. Think about it for a moment, how would you feel if your neighbor burned anything imaginable every day, left rotting garbage and other oddities sitting out in his yard and let the grass grow to the point that noxious insidious weeds began to take over? What would that do to the quiet and peaceful enjoyment of your property? Is it legal?

Once again, that is a question for the courts. However, I can say with absolute certainty that most people would not be allowed to open an adult bookstore or strip club in their yard. So where does the Constitution apply on that situation and whose property rights are infringed upon? In a nutshell, the opposition feels that our property rights are being threatened by the development of wind in our county. If we cannot sit outside and enjoy our property, then what right does someone have to take that enjoyment away? There is a simple answer to this, let the affected townships vote! Give we, the people, a say.

While I am sorry to say that all of this is even happening and it tears me up to see what it has done to a community that I am not embarrassed to call home, sometimes silence is not golden. Hopefully, though, there will come a day when “Big Wind has blown away” and we can heal the wounds that they have created and move on. Happy holidays to everyone and take the time to reflect on what we have and not what we don’t, because nothing is free. Remember, wind carries doubt, you never know what can hit you.

Chris Zeman