Anti-wind activist “won’t back down” as NextEra threatens legal action

 Protestor Esther Wrightman (right) stops to talk to a security guard during their protest at NextEra Energy's open house on the Jericho Wind project in Watford recently. Wrightman is facing legal action for using a parody of the company's name online.

Protestor Esther Wrightman (right) stops to talk to a security guard during their protest at NextEra Energy’s open house on the Jericho Wind project in Watford recently. Wrightman is facing legal action for using a parody of the company’s name online.

Esther Wrightman says she’s not about to be silenced in her fight against wind turbines in her community.

Wrightman, a member of Middlesex Lambton Wind Concerns, recently received a Cease and Desist order from NextEra Energy after altering the company’s logo to make it read Next-terror and NextError on signs and videos.

“This use of the NextEra logo is unsanctioned, in violation of NextEra’s intellectual property rights and defamatory, especially in conjunction with the video makers’ disparaging comments about NextEra,” Awanish Sinha of McCarthy Tetrault law firm in Toronto writes to Wrightman. “While NextEra recognizes your right to object to its projects and to express your opinions regarding wind power and provincial policies regarding green energy, you do not have a right to utilize its name and logo in any manner or to defame the company.”

Sinha writes company officials tried a half dozen times to talk to the activist by phone about their concerns, but weren’t able to reach her. When Wrightman added NextTerror Bullies Canada Inc. to a blog, Sinha says the company felt it had to take legal action.

“The latest manipulation of NextEra’s logo has compelled NextEra to take this action and stop this escalating abuse.”

The company told Wrightman to remove all uses of the alter logos on the Middlesex Lambton Wind Concern and Ontario Wind Resistance blogs. It also calls for two videos – one of company workers removing a bald eagle’s nest which was in the way of a new project in Haldimand County.

Wrightman says that video and another of a company official telling protestors the Ministry of the Environment gave permission for the nest to be cut, have been viewed thousands of times and have shocked people.

“I really believe it has more to do with them wanting the eagle nest video down,” she says. Wrightman believes the letter is simply a threat that the company uses with people who don’t agree with their projects.

“I think they use these threatening tactics like these letters but a lot of people don’t talk about it…They think, ‘I don’t want to lose a lot of money I’ll take it down,’” says Wrightman. “I’ve got nothing to lose; they’re scrapping the bottom of the barrel here.”

And she believes the names are fitting. “They are making errors and they are terrorizing people.” Wrightman, in her letter to the company explaining the links won’t be taken down; lists dozens of articles which she says demonstrates her point.

“I think I have grounds to stand on,” says Wrightman. “Four times they (NextEra) couldn’t book a building for their public meetings…that’s where the error thing started…and if you can show that, then it is fair comment.

“My gut reaction right away was ‘no, I’m not going to do it,’” says Wrightman. After talking to a number of friends and fellow activists she decided to stand her ground. “If I back down one step with NextEra I’ll be done…If there is one thing I’ve learned you don’t step back because you’ll be stepping a lot more steps than just that one.”

NextEra spokesperson Josie Hernandez says the company had hoped to work with Wrightman to resolve the issue but that doesn’t appear like it will happen. “As for our options moving forward,” wrote Hernandez in an email “everything remains on the table.  We are continuing to consider our options.”

Wrightman has one way for NextEra to get what it wants; “You stop the terror, you stop the errors and we’ll stop using that name.”

– Heather Wright

Advertisements