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Indian Valley Record
Greenville, California
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June 29, 2011     Indian Valley Record
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June 29, 2011
 

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. 1 Bulletin, Progressive, Record, Reporter Wednesday, June 29, 2011 5B ldZind theft m ................. ................. STEVE BRENNEMAN steve@schoolpathways.com The headline screamed, "Accusations of Wind Theft on the Rise Across the Country." Wow! Who&apos;d have thought it would come to this? How long before we pass a guy in an alley who says, "Psst. Hey buddy. Wanna buy a couple cubic yards of really choice wind?" Officer Smith: "OK, Mr. Brenneman, run that by me one more time." Mr. Brenneman: "Like I said, I left home for dinner around 5 p.m. There was a steady breeze. You could hear the wind chimes and see the leaves rustling in the trees. And when I got home two hours later, the wind was gone." Officer Smith: "And how much did you have to drink with dinner?" Mr. Brenneman: "The usual. Why do you ask? Say, shouldn't you be gathering fingerprints or something... ?" OK, perhaps I should have read the whole article. The wind thieves, it turns out, are neighboring wind farms. You know, those giant turbines you see in various windy places around the country. In light of legislation signed by Gov. Brown in April mandating that a third of the state's electricity come from renewable sources by 2020, expect to see a lot more of them. As I understand it, when wind hits a turbine and causes it to turn, the wind energy is transferred to the turbine, which in turn converts the energy to elec- tricity. In the process, that wind energy is consumed. In effect, the amount of wind energy downwind of the turbine is reduced by the amount captured by the turbine. So let's say you own a 100-acre wind farm and you're going along merrily generating electricity and putting cash in your pocket. Then your greedy, no-good, opportunist, upwind neigh- bor sees you driving around in a Mercedes and decides to get a piece of the action and build his own wind farm. And because the wind typically comes from the . p jh::t a lot of hot air. direction of his property, the amount reaching your turbines is reduced, thereby cutting your electricity out- put in haft. It's enough to make one want to drill for oil. But wait, can he just steal your wind like that? After all, you were there first. We've seen this picture before. One landowner puts a bank of solar panels on his roof only to have someone else construct an apartment building next door; thereby blocking the sunlight from reaching the panels. ' It is a specie of the more common case of a landowner suing another for blocking his view of the ocean.or some other such picturesque sight. Generally, the law has not looked kindly on such claims. (See Wolford v. Thomas.) The courts approach this type of case as a question of easements. An easement is essentially a right one land- owner has to use the property of another. For example, one landowner might have a right to drive over his neighbor's yard to reach the highway. Easements may be granted outright with a deed or created by implication. An example of the latter is where you own a parcel of property bordering on a road and you subdivide the property in such a Way that you retain the front part bordering the road and sell the back part. The law imposes an easement by implication over your property to allow the new owner to gain access to the highway. In the case of wind, sun or views, the issue is whether one property owner has an easement over adjacent prop- erty to allow those items of nature to reach his or her property. The problem with ease- ments is that they stifle devel- opment, which the law, for the most part, tends to encourage. If a neighbor has a roadway easement over your property, you can't very well construct a building or a swimming pool over that easement. If one property owner is granted an easement for sunlight over adjacent property, the extent of development on that other property is severely curtailed. So how do we meet the state mandate that a third of our electricity come from re- newable sources by 2020? Who will risk building a large array of solar panels or a wind farm if they can't be assured their neighbors Caltrans victim third since May Feature of the Week: safe. Motorists must slow down, watch out for highway workers and safely move over a lane When passing work crews." Highway construction and maintenance work is one of the most dangerous occupa- tions in the United States. The risk of death is seven times greater for highway workers than for the average worker. Since the 1920s, 178 Cal- trans employees have died while on the job ...... Caltrans announced that Richard Gonzalez, a 52-year- old Caltrans maintenance worker, died shortly before 9 a.m. on June 20 after being struck by a vehicle while he was picking up litter along the northbound Interstate 15 connector ramp to eastbound State Route 94 in San Diego. He is the third Caltrans worker to die on the job in 48 days -- the most ever in such a short period of time. On May 4, Stephen Palmer St. was struck by a trolley and killed in National City near San Diego. On June 7, Jaime Obeso was killed by an errant vehicle while working on Interstate 8 in Imperial County. Caltrans has called a statewide safety stand down to emphasize safety pro- cedures. All routine or regularly scheduled highway mainte- nance activities are being temporarily halted to revisit and reinforce all aspects of field safety and to ask the public for help. Caltrans will post notices on its statewide network of more than 700 electronic highway message signs reminding motOrists to watch out for Caltrans employees. Flags will be at half-staff on Caltrans buildings across the state in remembrance of Caltrans workers who have needlessly lost their lives this year. "Every day, highway workers put their lives in danger just by going to work," said Acting Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. "These three tragic incidents are sobering reminders that we all must do everything we can to keep our highways POEM OF THE American Life in Poetry Ted Kooser U.S. Poet Laureate, 2004 - 06 WEEK And there will be no more need for love or lovers or fears of losing lovers and there will be no more burning timbers with which to light a new fire, and there will be no more husbands or people related to husbands, and there will be no more tears or reason to shed your tears. You will be as mended as the bridge the working crew has just reopened. The thick air will be vanquished with the tide and the river that was corrupted by lies will be cleansed and totally free. And the rooster will call in the setting sun and the sun will beckon homeward, hiding behind your one tree that was not felled: --Patricia Jabbeh Wesley Family Dentistry for Plumas County With a Woman's Touch Many of us. have attempted to console friends who have recently been divorced, and though it can be a pretty hard sell, we have assured them that things will indeed be better with the pas- sage of time. Here's a fine poem of consolation by Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, who teaches at Penn State. One Day One day, you will awake from your covering and that heart of yours will be totally mended, and there will be no more burning within. The owl, calling in the setting of the sun and the deer path, all erased. Emily S. Herndon, DDS • Graduate of Loma Linda University School of Den6stry • Member American Academy of Oral Medicine • Member Omicron Kappa Upsilon National Dental Honor Society • Member American Dental Association ;,i/;,!4'',',',',';',i %';i!,!;/,?: ff, '',, !,  :i:  .............  '' :  ..... # i    ............... ,; ii : ] l tii00iiiiiiiiiii00 ilN00Nii 00ii!i iiiil;! ;] iGi::i:: ii ii iii iiiiiiiiii i:i;::i:i::iiiiiii:iiiiiiii:iii ii: i ii::iiii ii:iii! :i:i!i!i:i i::i::iiiiiii iiiiiiiil iiiiiiiiii iii ii:!ii!2i:!i li ........... : .....  ............... i .......... <::. .....  ........................  ..................................................................................... : Beautiful, esthetic restorations utilizing the latest technology. Crowns done in one day, preserving the maximum amount of your natural tooth structure. Emergencies accepted. Emily S. Herndon, D.D.S. 431 W. MAIN ST., QUINCY • (530) 28a-II19 won't render those energy collectors worthless? One solution, I suppose, would be to purchase an easement over adjoining properties. However, the cost may be prohibitive. Another solution in the area of solar energy has been legislation. Laws in various jurisdictions prohibit the blocking of solar panels in various contexts. Another potential solution finds its origin in water rights law. I do not profess to be an expert in this area .(or any area for that matter). Many trees have given their lives so that multi-volume treatises could be written about it. Generally, in the West, we follow an appropriations theory of water rights. This means that the first to use water gains a right to con- tinued use. This is to be contrasted with water rights in the East, which generally follow riparian rules. Riparian rules provide that those owning property adja- cent to water sources have the right to use it. Under an appropriations scheme, if one property owner has for years been drawing, say, 1,000 gallons of water an hour from a river to irrigate his property, he or she has established the right to continue using that amount of water from the river, even if that means others who need water must go without. I believe these rules have been softened somewhat over the years. But, as I Said, I'm no expert. Since the wind is a natural resource like water, why not apply the same rules? If one property owner builds a wind farm that captures a certain amount of the wind, has he or she not thereby appropriated the right to continue using that amount of wind, even if it means less wind for others to capture? Officer Jones (on the phone):, "Hello, Mr. Brenneman. I think we may have found your wind." Mr. Brenneman: "Great. I've missed it so." Officer Jones: "Yes, Old Man Smith called to com- plain about some wind that sounds a lot like yours blow- ing over a tree that crashed onto his car. 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