Bob Ladd owns a ranch northwest of Stephenville — and he hates the idea of “wind farms” coming to the area.

In fact, Ladd hates the idea so much that he’s launched a campaign against commercial windmills locating in Erath County.

And tonight, a Ladd-promoted meeting to inform the public about the so-called evils of windmill farms is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Henderson Junior High School.

“We have one of the most scenic areas in Texas, and this is absolutely going to ruin our area,” Ladd said Wednesday. “I’ve been a taxpayer in Erath County since 1994, and I hate to see this happening in our area.”

Ladd said the purpose of tonight’s meeting is to get concerned taxpayers who don’t like the idea of “wasting our tax dollars, increasing our electric bills and diminishing our property values 30 to 40 percent” involved.

For every $1 million invested, Ladd said, windmill companies get $1.3 million back in tax credits.

“If it were not for the tax credits involved, we would not have wind turbines being constructed in the state of Texas,” Ladd said. “… It’s the biggest waste of tax dollars I have ever seen.”

Ladd also said he doesn’t like calling them “wind farms” because it was a phrase coined by the windmill industry and because they truly are “huge industrial complexes” with 400-foot-plus windmills spread over numerous acres.

Keynote speaker for tonight’s meeting will be Jack Hunt, from the legendary King Ranch, who has been fighting the battle against wind turbines for years in South Texas.

Ladd has run a series of advertisements locally, announcing the meeting and talking about the detriments of windmill farms.

By the same token, the American Wind Energy Association has started running advertisements touting “Wind: Powering a cleaner, stronger America.”

“Wheat. Cattle. Kilowatts,” the ad states. “100 percent clean wind energy powers America’s growing economy … Wind power is clean, cost-effective energy for Texas. This inexhaustible domestic energy source produces no emissions, uses no fuel and consumes no water - while providing new income to windy rural communities - and helps Texas meet our growing demand for electricity. From new manufacturing jobs to farm income to a stronger tax base, wind power is providing new economic opportunities and benefits across Texas, and the nation.”

DOUG MYERS is Managing Editor of the Empire-Tribune. He can be reached at doug.myers@empiretribune.com or (254) 965-3124, ext. 229.