Articles from Kansas
We should not let wind power's "green" image trick us into abandoning the principle that some places and some species should be saved for their own sakes. We should reject the argument that everything must be "useful," that every place and every aspect of life should be commercialized.
Although my research started with the visual and spatial aspects of WECSs, and continues to be focused on WECSs effects on “landscape character” i.e. impacts on the spatial environment, with implications for cultural values and social systems of our region. I am equally concerned about the predictable negative effects of WECSs on the natural systems of the Flint Hills. I am concerned about serious cumulative effects and the degradation of: the visual character of our environment; the social fabric of communities that are facing the prospect of WECS-C; the health of biological, ecological components of our regional ecosystem; and the long term viability of our local, increasingly “nature-based” economy.
Manhattan and Riley County certainly have legitimate governmental interests in the development of the corridor, the promotion of tourism and protection of the tallgrass prairie.
Consider this: We could be looking at 1,000 or more wind turbines taller than the Statue of Liberty on the high ridges of the Flint Hills, and they would contribute only about one-tenth of 1 percent of our current electricity use. That simply isn't worth the destruction of our unique Tallgrass Prairie land resource.
The benefits of wind farms are dubious and undemonstrated. Going headlong into the business of wind farming, either for the revenue or the energy, is less than responsible.
What's the matter with Kansas? For one thing, The Wichita Eagle.
Resolving Our Cultural Identity Crisis: Agriculture vs. Environment "...this concept of preserving land in private hands has become a great theme of our region. Our Flint Hills culture has rested on this principle: that we want our land to remain agriculturally productive in private hands, namely producing high quality beef cattle, at the same time we preserve the Flint Hills much as they were hundreds of years ago."
Promoters of the wind energy craze, absentee landowners and a few locals hoping for a windfall are about to destroy the soul of the Flint Hills.
The study pointed out that when a community focuses on tourism as a strategy for economic vitality, it is important that they coordinate tourism and other economic development activities. Weak or non-existent planning and zoning, polluting industries, etc. can lower the visitors’ impression and the likelihood of repeat visits. Furthermore, that essential word of mouth advertising, so wonderful when everything works well, can work against a community that fails to keep up its appearance and its offerings (YNG study).
The Sacred Hills, by Don Coldsmith, a Bantam Books paperback, copyright 1998. Courtesy Protect The Flint Hills website. For whatever reason, perhaps because we feel closer to the divine or perhaps from a hill we can see farther and with greater clarity, human beings of all cultures seem spiritually drawn to high places. “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help,” sang the psalmist: for Looks Far that statement was literally true. It was from a hilltop that the bison stampede both destroyed his enemies and provided winter food for his tribe. More important, it was the Sacred Hills that brought together, for the first time, two warring tribes; love for land proved stronger than human animosities. The Flint Hills were indeed a holy place for the People.