Your land, your rules

The most terrifying words in the English language are, according to President Ronald Reagan, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” Reagan understood that the best government is a limited government, one that allows its citizens to utilize their land however they see fit. Our Founding Fathers never guaranteed the right to a view, but they did declare that all individuals have the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

The Ohio Conservative Energy Forum is an organization that stands for a genuine “all-of-the-above” approach to Ohio’s energy policy — one that recognizes Ohio’s history with traditional energy sources such as coal, natural gas and oil — while also committing to advancing clean and renewable energy, such as wind. We defend conservative principles such as limited government, individual liberty and property rights. We believe it’s your land, so it’s your rules. You have the absolute right to, as Vernon Burkholder of Republic said, “harvest the wind.”

Put bluntly, wind energy is northwest Ohio’s shale. Just as shale gas created an economic renaissance in eastern Ohio, wind energy has the capacity to do the same in Seneca County and much of northwestern Ohio. The Ohio Senate has proposed a fix to the burdensome wind setback that finally would grant private businesses the freedom to invest billions of dollars in the Ohio economy and create as many as 15,000 jobs.

On a more local scale, the payments paid by these wind farms to local governments become a guaranteed source of revenue. Without raising taxes, this excess revenue can foster a vibrant community and increase property values by improving schools, bettering roads and hiring more public safety officials. Wind farms are profitable for not only those who have wind turbines on their property, but for everyone in the community. As conservatives, we want our neighbors to succeed by profiting from the free-market economy. We never would impede economic success. After all, a rising tide lifts all boats.

We must also consider the impact this has on our farmers. Just as you would not think twice about your neighbor raising a hog barn to better their enterprise, land owners are signing wind leases to provide economic stability for their farms and their families. This will perpetuate third-generation farms into fourth-generation farms and fourth-generation farms to a fifth generation. Agriculture will continue to play a major role in Seneca County for many years to come.

We live in a state that has been blessed with many natural resources. Ohio has benefited from coal, gas and oil for many years. As we prepare for the future, our state must diversify our energy portfolio to include advanced forms of energy, including wind. As Americans, we all have the right to prosper through self-reliance and rugged individualism.

If you own property, you have every right to capitalize on the occasion to better opportunities for you, your family and your community. Liberals want the government to tell us what to do with our property. As conservatives, we know what’s best for our families and our communities — it’s time to get the government off our land.

Tyler M. Duvelius, executive director

Ohio Conservative Energy Forum