People are good; not all intentions thought out
“All People Are Good,” by Luke Bryan, is fitting in many ways for my reason for writing this letter.
Six years ago, when I was elected to serve as a county commissioner, I knew there would be tough decisions, intense moments and loads of frustration. The job has not disappointed. However, it has been worth it to do what I feel is right for the people of Seneca County.
I began writing this letter five months ago, so had to chuckle at that as I revived the document from its electronic resting place. Unfortunately, not much has changed regarding my reasons for wanting to share some thoughts about wind turbine projects which are being developed in our county. These projects have brought out the worst in some, are exciting to others and just plain confusing to many.
If I may borrow words from a country song, I do believe all people are good, but not all good intentions are well thought out and I believe fear may be the number-one reason for that in the case of these projects. As a Christian, I know God should be my only fear, but we are all far from perfect. In the case of wind development, the greatest fear is of the unknown. We all have heard stories of things that have happened with older technology when few guidelines had been developed. All kinds of misleading statements and assumed facts make new ideas scary. With wind development, add in blade length, tower height, tax collected, placement of turbines and possible side effects, and who is not scared or at least confused? This is the reason it is important to listen and check facts with those who are the experts. There are counties in Ohio where wind turbines are providing power and have been proven beneficial to the county where they have been erected.
I also believe the passion expressed by those against wind development started out for many with a general concern for their families, the environment and basic safety. These are all good intentions, and asking questions and seeking essential information is beneficial. Here is where things got messy. Questions were asked and information was shared; however, facts have been misconstrued either accidentally or purposefully, and instead of thinking through what would be for the greater good, more fear has been instilled by not sharing real facts or at least not stopping misinformation.
On multiple occasions over the past eight months, I have answered inquiries about whether I was getting a turbine on my property. The answer to that has always been, “No, I am not getting a turbine on my property.” And then, I am told by others the reason I am for the project is because I am not getting a turbine on my property. Yet, others are convinced I am seeing some other financial gain from the projects; illegal. My ethical standards are in place.
Also, many times, I have been called out by Seneca Anti Wind Union members for not attending a meeting, for attending a meeting, for things I said or for not speaking. It is pretty much a lose-lose situation.
Another highly repetitive statement I hear is, “I don’t know how you do it. How do you put up with everything they say and do?” The answer is that easy — I care about Seneca County and its residents. This has been my home for over 30 years, and it still is a great place to raise a family, and,I strongly believe it will be for decades to come.
Thirty years ago, we did not have large communication towers in the county. Today, we cannot live without them. Thirty years ago, we did not have the personal computers that are necessary today. We did not have cellphones that do so much to enrich our lives. I could mention many other things that make our lives better, and they all require power.
Times have changed, hopefully, for the better. We have better schools, smarter kids, better roads, more-efficient cars, technology and biotechnology that makes our lives easier, healthier and fun. Change is never easy, but I thank God we have changed and will continue to change and grow.
I believe it is time to accept that we happen to be in a part of the world that will be accountable to our environment through clean energy. Our dependence on electricity will continue to increase and Seneca County will be able to help supply that power. If you do not believe in renewable energy, keep your flashlight close. Seneca County can be part of the solution to keep up with this increasing demand for power. Additionally, revenue from the wind will stay local and help our schools fund many projects to prepare our children and grandchildren for future jobs that still are being developed. Success stories from schools in Paulding and Van Wert counties are already doing exactly this. Our neighbors and our children will gain the opportunity to work in the nation’s fastest growing industry.
Thank you to the silent pro-wind people. You are supporting your community in ways that will be needed for decades to come. Many of you are sharing your property for wind technology at the cost of a scowl from your neighbors or worse because they are opposed to this development, but you see the need for future generations and just want to do what you think will make life better for them. You believe in your right to use your property in any way that you feel is beneficial. You have that right.
Change is inevitable. Accepting it does not have to be. I believe most people are good.
Holly Stacy is a Seneca County commissioner