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April 16, 2021

3/2/2021 2:25:00 PM
Why can't they participate?

Dear Editor;
My name is Matt Johnson and I am a Field Director at the Wisconsin Land and Liberty Coalition. We are a nonprofit effort focused on protecting the private property rights of farming families who recognize the benefits renewable energy projects can bring to their communities.
In the past few years, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission and local governments have approved several wind and solar projects. Not only do they provide clean and affordable power, renewable energy projects are a significant benefit to local communities across the state of Wisconsin. Every large-scale renewable energy project creates hundreds of construction jobs, boosts local businesses, and increases economic activity in rural areas. Additionally, land lease payments can help farmers keep their land in the family by providing a guaranteed revenue stream for decades. Farms go out of business every week in Wisconsin and renewable energy projects are a way to help farming families stay operating through difficult economic conditions. If farmers want to voluntarily participate in a renewable energy project, who is to say they shouldn't be allowed to? It is their land and they know best how to take care of it.
Large renewable energy projects also provide shared revenue payments to local communities. Wind and solar projects can vary in size, but they often bring in several hundred thousand dollars in new revenue per year for counties and towns that host the project facilities. These projects can be a lifeline that provide decades of stable revenue for schools, roads, fire departments, and other essential public services.
Fundamentally these solar and wind projects are a chance to help farmers stay in business, increase revenue for vital community services, and create hundreds of quality jobs at a time when they are needed most. Rural communities across southwest Wisconsin stand to gain significantly when renewable energy projects are developed and approved.
Matt Johnson
Albany, WI

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