Saturday, August 07, 2004


Greenies don't want their scenery disturbed

"In ecologically minded New England, it was the gusty dream of energy officials and environmentalists: Windmills were going to help the region reduce its dependence on pollution-spewing power plants. But seven years after the region's first commercial wind farm was built, it is becoming clear that wind power faces a hard road here, partly because of environmentalists themselves. Last year was a near record year for commercial windmill installations nationwide, with enough built to power almost 500,000 residences, yet not one went on line in New England. Wind farms have gone up in Texas, California, and Wyoming, but in Massachusetts the only commercial wind farm is Searsburg's 11 turbines, which went up in 1997.

"I hoped way back when because of the stronger environmental consciousness here it would be an easier place to locate" turbines, said Tom Gray, deputy executive director of the American Wind Energy Association. "The irony I did not foresee is that it would be more difficult." At least eight proposed windmill farms in New England are meeting sharp opposition. While much of the resistance is coming from neighbors, environmental concerns are also holding up some plans, including one that would add 20 to 30 turbines to an existing wind farm on a mountain ridge here.

For environmentalists, the conflict between green power and green land has produced a moral quandary. In the search for the open, windblown spots that make the best sites for turbines, developers are finding that much of the region's land is already spoken for as conservation land, preserved vistas, or the home of protected species. "Two totally separate good things are in tension with each other," said Seth Kaplan of the Conservation Law Foundation, a regional environmental group that is part of a collaborative trying to forge a compromise on the Searsburg expansion.

The most contentious wind farm plan, the 130-turbine proposal in Nantucket Sound, is far enough offshore to enjoy the quiet support of several regional environmental groups, though fishermen and shoreline property owners largely oppose it. But inland, where most wind farms are proposed, the conflict among environmentalists is becoming acute, as wind farms are proposed in places or near species these groups fought so hard to protect over the years....

And in Vermont's remote Northeast Kingdom, an East Haven wind farm proposal is bumping into conservationists' visions of untouched forest tracts and mountain ridges.....


"The universal rationale for this massive public commitment to wind power is that it is environmentally benign. But wind power has at least one major environmental problem -- the massive destruction of bird populations -- that has begun to draw serious concern from mainstream environmentalists.

Wind blades have killed thousands of birds in the United States and abroad in the last decade, including endangered species, which is a federal offense subject to criminal prosecution. While bird kills are not considered a problem by everyone, it is a problem for some environmental groups who lobbied to put the laws on the books, made cost assessments for dead birds and other wildlife pursuant to the Valdez accident, and vilify petroleum extraction activity on the North Slope of Alaska as hazardous to wildlife. While such groups as the Sierra Club and the National Audubon Society have criticized wind power's effects on birds, many eco-energy planners have ignored the problem in their devotion to wind power.

There have been numerous mentions of the "avian mortality" problem in the wind power literature (the Sierra Club labeled wind towers "the Cuisinarts of the air"). An article in the March 29-April 4, 1995, issue of SF Weekly was particularly telling. The cover story in the San Francisco newspaper was no less than an expose, written not by a free-market critic but by an author sympathetic with the environmentalist agenda.....

Explained one study: "Wind farms have been documented to act as both bait and executioner -- rodents taking shelter at the base of turbines multiply with the protection from raptors, while in turn their greater numbers attract more raptors to the farm." "How many dead birds equal a dead fish equals an oil spill?" Ten thousand cumulative bird deaths from 1,731 MW of installed U.S. capacity is the equivalent of 4.4 million bird deaths across the entire capacity of the United States electric market (approximately 770 gigawatts). A 20 percent share of U.S. capacity, a figure that the American Wind Energy Association put forward some years ago in congressional hearings (see above), would equate to 880,000 cumulative bird deaths. Calculated on an average operating basis, the number would rise severalfold. Not every potential wind farm would be an Altamont Pass, which was sited to be near existing transmission systems with little thought as to bird activity, but the mortality-per-megawatt ratio of existing capacity should give pause.

A 1992 study commissioned by the California Energy Commission (CEC) "conservatively" estimated that 39 golden eagles were being killed at Altamont Pass each year, a significant figure given a total population of 500 breeding pairs. On a percentage basis, the mortality rate per year at Altamont Pass under that estimate is eight times greater than the bald eagle kill from the Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound in 1989.

American kestrels and red-tailed hawks were also considered to be at risk from Altamont Pass, according to the CEC study. While these facts could be ignored by the prowind power community, the National Audubon Society's call for a moratorium on wind power projects in bird-sensitive areas (a position spearheaded by Audubon's San Francisco chapter) cannot."

More here


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

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