by BETTER FARMING STAFF
The London Free Press may not have been the first recipient of a letter threatening farmers who work land with wind turbines. Oxford MPP Ernie Hardeman said a brief letter containing the same message was delivered to his Woodstock office some time last week.
“I did receive a copy of the letter when it was first sent out,” Hardeman said in a phone interview with Better Farming on Wednesday. Hardeman is the PC ag critic in the Ontario Legislature. He said the letter, with no signature or any mark indicating its source, was hand-delivered.
“It was delivered. When I came in to the office, it was laying on the desk and I think someone had slipped it under the door,” he said.
The text of the letter, which has sparked a police investigation, was posted on The London Free Press website. It reads:
“Notice to all Farmers and Custom Farming Operations.
Any field that has an industrial wind turbine will be subject to have foreign materials placed in the crops which will result in very serious damage to any harvesting equipment.
While Hardeman received the letter, his counterpart, NDP ag critic John Vanthof, did not.
Hardeman said he did not report the letter to the police. “I get letters like that sometimes with information when people want the notoriety, They want you to do something but if they don’t put their name on it, we generally don’t deal with unaddressed mail.”
Commenting on the letter, he said: “At this point, I’m hoping it’s an idle threat to try and scare people as opposed to doing it.” He added, “I don’t think that’s the right approach to deal with contentious issues.”
OPP Sgt. Dave Rektor was quoted Monday as saying police will not tolerate “any mischief or vandalism. Criminal acts are going to be looked at on their own merit and dealt with accordingly and appropriately.”
Wind turbines have been contentious in Ontario with opponents arguing the turbines reduce land values and pose health risks. Kincardine area farmer Jutta Splettstoesser, co-founder and former president of Friends of Wind, has experienced opposition to her pro-wind stand, even to the point of having the windshield of her car damaged. She had her car parked at the Outdoor Farm Show in 2011 with an “I support wind energy” sign in front. When she returned from the show, she says she found her windshield damaged and a glass repair shop later told her it looked like damage caused by a pellet gun.
Referring to the letter, she says this kind of damage, if the threat is carried out, could be really expensive and that liability could extend to the perpetrator.
“It’s covered by insurance, but whoever does this is liable for it too,” she says.
Splettstoesser says the kind of threat contained in the letter may force Ontario wind developers to add surveillance cameras to turbine sites, if they haven’t already. That, she says, will add to the cost and reduce the amount of money for community-based projects. BF