American founding father John Adams said of private property rights, “Property must be secured or liberty cannot exist.” In The Communist Manifesto Karl Marx says, “The theory of the communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.”
Socialist third-world dictators understand that to establish total control, private property rights must be eliminated. Former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s first step toward socialism was taking away citizens’ property rights by confiscation of private farmland proclaiming: “To those who own the land, this land is not yours. The land is not private, but property of the nation.
Across Virginia, there is a backdoor effort underway to ban landowners and farmers from using their own property. These politicians are creating ordinances blocking landowners from creating solar or wind projects to generate electricity. They are essentially taking away the rights of landowners under the guise of local zoning.
The Rappahannock County board of supervisors passed a restrictive solar ordinance that their own county attorney advised them would face legal challenges on constitutional grounds. One of the supervisors said “If we found a way to avoid [solar fields] altogether in this county, I would be happy. Apparently, we can’t just say no … we could just make it so restrictive that nobody is going to apply for it.”
Some farmers across Virginia are desperate to lease land to build solar projects. They receive much needed income that enables them to keep the farms. The News Virginian recently wrote, “Donna Miller, who together with her brother works a 700-acre farm in Grottoes, said farming is hard work and financially stressful. She and her brother are getting older and want to retire. With no immediate family member wanting to take over the farm operations, solar presents a viable alternative that allows them to retire and keep the land in the family.”
Some counties are protecting the rights of property owners who want to use their land for solar. Charlotte County, Virginia last week rejected a proposed ordinance that was so restrictive it would have eliminated the ability of many landowners to create solar projects.
Instead, the majority on the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors voted for an ordinance that protects the common good of the community, while respecting the constitutional freedoms and rights of the individual, including property rights. They’re protecting the constitutional rights of private landowners to use their land to develop solar, while enacting reasonable setbacks and protections for the neighboring communities. This is the way it should be done in America.
Conservatives for Clean Energy – Virginia serves as a voice for the many conservatives who want to protect their property rights while expanding the availability of clean energy sources in Virginia.