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Yellow light on 'green'

Gov. Crist has committed the state to developing "green" energy that doesn't harm the environment. Now, he must direct state agencies, especially the Department of Environmental Protection, to stop approving little-tested technologies without setting standards. ...Last week, the state correctly backed off a hasty push to approve Florida Power & Light Co.'s request to build three, 40-story wind turbines on St. Lucie County public beaches. Even a planned April meeting is too soon to reconsider. FPL already plans six wind turbines on its own land. FPL has a booming wind business in other states, where turbines are inland, but little experience with coastal turbines.

Gov. Crist has committed the state to developing "green" energy that doesn't harm the environment. Now, he must direct state agencies, especially the Department of Environmental Protection, to stop approving little-tested technologies without setting standards. Otherwise, even "green" energy could harm the environment.

And "green" proposals abound: For ethanol plants that use vast amounts of water and energy to make fuel from corn or yard clippings; for "plasma-arc" garbage-zappers that could release as much mercury as a coal plant; for underwater turbines that could harness the currents of the Gulf Stream but also might chop up marine life in a "Cuisinart effect." And in St. Lucie County, wind turbines on beaches the public paid to preserve.

With five ethanol plants on the books in Florida and plans to start producing fuel within 18 months, scientists are researching which plants are best for Florida to grow. Concerns about the amount of water these plants will use seem to have evaporated, but it's a crucial issue in Florida's repeating cycles of drought and floods. Approval of a Geoplasma garbage vaporizer plant in St. Lucie County depends on whether its... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Gov. Crist has committed the state to developing "green" energy that doesn't harm the environment. Now, he must direct state agencies, especially the Department of Environmental Protection, to stop approving little-tested technologies without setting standards. Otherwise, even "green" energy could harm the environment.

And "green" proposals abound: For ethanol plants that use vast amounts of water and energy to make fuel from corn or yard clippings; for "plasma-arc" garbage-zappers that could release as much mercury as a coal plant; for underwater turbines that could harness the currents of the Gulf Stream but also might chop up marine life in a "Cuisinart effect." And in St. Lucie County, wind turbines on beaches the public paid to preserve.

With five ethanol plants on the books in Florida and plans to start producing fuel within 18 months, scientists are researching which plants are best for Florida to grow. Concerns about the amount of water these plants will use seem to have evaporated, but it's a crucial issue in Florida's repeating cycles of drought and floods. Approval of a Geoplasma garbage vaporizer plant in St. Lucie County depends on whether its mercury emissions will be higher than promised. Gov. Crist wants to give Florida Atlantic University $10 million more for its Gulf Stream power project - a fascinating idea, if fish soup isn't a by-product.

Last week, the state correctly backed off a hasty push to approve Florida Power & Light Co.'s request to build three, 40-story wind turbines on St. Lucie County public beaches. Even a planned April meeting is too soon to reconsider. FPL already plans six wind turbines on its own land. FPL has a booming wind business in other states, where turbines are inland, but little experience with coastal turbines. The utility does propose to remove the turbines if environmental problems arise - such as large numbers of birds being killed by the blades.

That backward offer illustrates what is wrong with the state's process. "Build it now, remove it if it harms the environment" isn't a smart plan. In California, projects must go through a full environmental review, and identify problems and ways to solve them in advance of approval. Even then, the state has had problems. Above all, the process for approving these new technologies must invite public participation. The state set a bad example in the windmill case by first going along with FPL's attempt to fast-track the proposal. Going "green" has to be more than a slogan.

 


Source: http://www.palmbeachpost.co...

FEB 18 2008
https://www.windaction.org/posts/13361-yellow-light-on-green
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