Impact on People or Colorado
But here in Gloucester, it seems that government is "by the developer, for the developer." The City Council has cast a unanimous vote to grant a special permit for a private-use wind turbine that Mac Bell plans to install on the banks of the Annisquam River, rising 240 feet into the air and only 315 feet from a playground.
Sixty neighbors who live in the immediate vicinity of the proposed turbine site signed a petition opposing it. Ward 3 Councilor Steven Curcuru dismissed this number as "insignificant."
As the debate over "Wind Farms" continues, and is now into court, I cannot help but wonder why it has progressed this far dividing neighbors, friends and families. I also reflect on how the whole ordeal, which has put much undue stress on all parties involved, could have been avoided had our County Board followed normal protocol regarding the granting of Special Use Permits. Last fall, when the hearing for Special Use Application was in front of the County Zoning Board of Appeals, there were several long nights of testimony from both sides. After all testimony was heard, the Zoning Board of Appeals voted 3-1 to deny the application. At that point, in normal county procedure, the issue is over and the applicants must wait a year to apply again. However, in this case, our County Board leadership decided to be above the norm and overturn the Zoning Board of Appeal's recommendation forcing themselves and the county into imminent litigation.
Our crofters have had years to consider the "lucrative" income that we could "enjoy" if this wind farm were granted, and we have said no each time we were asked. Sixteen surveys or ballots have all yielded overwhelming opposition to this project, comprehensively backed up by more than 13,000 objections submitted to the government - with only 77 letters in support - hardly the "widespread support at both national and local level" which he claims this project has.
We are not for sale, at any price. We are not the "needy" yokels that Mr Maciver claims, nor will we be bought by dangling "lucrative" carrots as bait to encourage us to capitulate. We most certainly do not share his views that building 181 giant turbines, digging miles of roads, drains and ditches, pylons, excavating five huge quarries (each up to a mile long) would be "managing the moorland to the benefit of our environment".
Noise concerns are not obstacles to wind development, if the industry and local and state regulators can move beyond simplistic denial of the problem. Indeed, the continued growth of the wind industry in the U.S. and Canada may depend upon a fundamental shift of attitude, centered on respecting communities that choose lower noise limits, and providing assurances that negative impacts will be addressed if they occur.
If the PSC guidelines didn't reflect the state real estate association data on decreased property values, and if the industry cannot guarantee acceptable sound levels prior to construction, then the risk is all mine.
As long as there is not a clear and easy recourse to be sure my rights and property values are protected, I will object.
Few people can argue with the need to develop alternative and renewable forms of energy. However, the Eagle is wrong in favoring passage of the Wind Siting Reform Act. There are simply too many instances of towns regretting decisions to fast-track plans to be in the forefront of the green energy movement, and this act would further hasten giving the OK for such projects without townspeople knowing all the facts.
Recent hearings in Dartmouth make it clear that the Alternative Energy Committee of the town of Dartmouth is excited about the potential economic benefits of wind turbines. They make a decent argument in favor of having the town get into the new business of being a small utility company ...Unfortunately, this new utility company would plant its primary electricity generating facilities in the middle of a rural residential neighborhood, and for one reason: The town happens to own the land in that location.
State testing shows that the two industrial turbines on Arsene Street in Fairhaven at times violate state noise regulations.
It doesn't happen all the time and testing is not finished, but this news is certainly enough for town officials to take notice — and to take action.
Let's be perfectly clear. The only way to "mitigate" problems associated with industrial wind turbines is to make sure the projects do not go up within residential areas in the first place.
As reported in a recent Daily News letter ("Think big on wind energy" by David Bassett, May 20, 2009) , the U.S. Department of Energy admitted when these immense machines were being developed that they were intended for placement in the remote, unpopulated areas of the Midwest, and offshore -- not amongst rural/residential areas like that of WNY.
In the town of Searsburg the private citizens own about 20% of the land and the rest belongs to the power companies,the state, and the National Forest. That extremely limits our growth as a town, yet they continue to destroy more forest land in the name of public good. ...This project is expected to cost over $60 million to build and destroy 80 acres of prime pristine forest land. How can you justify the cost with the return? Is there a price on our National Forests? Is there a price on the people's lives that live nearby that will surely be changed by the noise and lights? Is there a price on the many others who will see the nine to 12 red flashing lights from a distance in the night sky? They paint a rosy picture, but is it?
I ask you all, Is this in the public good?
The stimulus package passed by Congress in February included almost $80 billion for renewable energy, energy efficiency, mass transit, updating the electrical grid and research.
Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar has made production, development, and delivery of renewable energy one of his department's highest priorities. But the government's focus on using public lands for power generation is not the best solution for our solar energy needs. There is a better way.
The surprise that one week before Thanksgiving Massachusetts Speaker of the House Sal DiMasi had thrown a last-minute Mickey into a state energy bill was no surprise at all…just business as usual. Well… maybe not so usual.
The obvious beneficiary of this maneuver to allow development of “alternative energy” projects within previously protected state ocean sanctuaries is one Jay Cashman, multi-millionaire construction tycoon and close personal friend of the speaker. Cashman has announced his plans to desecrate Buzzards Bay in the name of renewable profits.
Accompanying the myth that wind turbine energy will replace fossil fuel energy is denial of the ecological impacts and health effects of wind turbines by governments and promoters. The ugly reality is that wind turbines are a serious addition to the industrialization of quiet rural landscapes, places that people have long valued for quality of life, retirement and recreation.
The environmental costs imposed on wildlife and people have been systematically ignored by a political and regulatory system that has corrupted individual and societal freedom and environmental integrity by relegating these values to some distant offshoot of economic growth.
This opinion piece does not directly reference wind turbines, however, the discussion of how sleep deprivation can result in symptoms similar to those experienced by people living near industrial-scale turbines (procrastination, forgetfulness, an inability to pay attention) is noteworthy.
"Cleaner air and cheaper energy" was the slogan when voters mandated wind and other renewable sources for 10 percent of the state's electric generation with Amendment 37 in 2004. Democratic legislators liked the idea so much that they upped the mandate to 20 percent in 2007 and boosted it this year to 30 percent.
One small problem: Neither half of the slogan is true.
In Ontario alone there are 115 known and documented reports of residents suffering adverse health effects from wind installations and there are less than 700 turbines in operation. Not very good odds are they? Add to this that problems are seriously underreported due to gag clause restrictions, fear of property devaluation when one speaks publicly, fear of loss of privacy if reporting, and fear of upsetting community harmony.
For an East Coast liberal hoping to make it to Denver for next month's Democratic National Convention, air or car travel can create quite the carbon-foot printed nightmare. While the DNCC has attempted to help limit the number of guilty consciences by offering to sell delegates carbon credits alleged to help offset damage to mother earth, it turns out that a primary source of these credits is a sham. ...an eastern Colorado wind turbine "tapped for the [DNC's] carbon-offset problem has one problem: It doesn't generate any electricity."
I'm responding to a letter that Dick Hill from Collingwood wrote to tell me about how so many rural people want turbines and how wonderful it is in Melancthon, specifically Dufferin County Road 17.
Dick describes this area in Melancthon as being representative of ideal harmony between rural people and industrial wind. Currently Royal Lepage in Orangeville has a house listed for sale on County Road 17.
The “Penobscot Wind Park” is clearly an inappropriate and incompatible use of county conservation and recreational land. We support the efforts of the current Bear Creek supervisors as they attempt to bring order to this project, which was given a free reign by the previous township administration. For our part DOW, with our partners from Bear Creek Township, will continue to fight for taxpayers rights in court. Concerned sportsmen, and Luzerne County residents should demand that the majority Luzerne County commissioners begin to protect this property and the rights of the taxpayers who will ultimately pay for it.