Residents in rural East Texas are suing to stop development of a 30,000-acre wind farm known as the Bug Tussle Wind Ranch.

Local landowners argue the project’s offshore-size turbines will result in destruction of property value and loss of livelihood, violating Texas nuisance laws.

The plaintiffs filed their lawsuit against a neighboring landowner who has signed a lease agreement with Cielo Wind, the developer of the proposed $300 million wind farm project.

The project is scheduled to start construction this year in Lamar and Fannin counties.

A judge ruled earlier this month that the lawsuit can proceed, denying a motion to dismiss filed by the defendant.

“This is an important first step to hold landowners personally responsible for the effects of bringing offshore-size, 800-foot high Industrial Wind Turbines into Fannin and Lamar county communities and in close proximity to homes and businesses,” said Chris Wilson, a Fannin County landowner whose group Stop Fannin-Lamar Wind has been fighting the project for two years.

Over 1,000 residents, landowners, and taxpayers have signed the group’s petition opposing the wind farm.

“Nobody has the right to deprive their neighbors of a substantial portion of their home and property, or of their business, by any action—and certainly not under cover of ‘property rights,’” Wilson said in a statement following the judge’s decision.

Wilson said local landowners stand to lose 25-30 percent of their land values after wind turbines are installed, with only a small number benefiting financially from the “green” energy project being “fueled by subsidies from Washington, D.C.”

According to Cielo, 80 landowners have signed on to the project but only half will have turbines on their property. Cielo plans to install about 80 turbines, most in Lamar County.

In addition to hurting property values, opponents say the project will increase burdens on local roads and landfills and decrease tax revenues if the project is granted state-sanctioned corporate welfare in the form of tax abatements.

Cielo claims the project will improve roads, generate “economic development,” and add millions in tax revenue to Chisum and Honey Grove school districts in the long run.

Wilson warned at least two more lawsuits are “coming soon.”

“With these companies unwilling to work with residents who don’t want them nearby, and our elected officials working too slowly to help us here, their only possible path was to go to the courts for relief to protect their own property rights,” he said.

Wilson said at least one county commissioner supports the project and wants to offer Cielo a “sweetheart deal” on taxes.

Offering tax abatement and/or Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreements are benefits that the County should ONLY offer for projects that benefit the County and its residents. While a few local landowners will get checks, there are far more that will get nothing but lost property values—and in the case of one landowner, a lost business.


Businesses—especially foreign owned—should not be given tax advantages denied to the rest of us who live and work here, such as special tax treatment.

Wilson encourages residents of Lamar and Fannin counties to contact their local officials about the impacts of the proposed Bug Tussle Wind Ranch.

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.