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We're off to see ... the wonderful scam

''If you want to see how invasive a wind farm can be, just take a ride in Schuylkill County,'' he wrote. ''A ridge that stretches from Mahanoy City to Centralia, an area of the best hunting and passive recreational woods in that part of the county, has been ruined with these monstrosities.'' I had not visited that area for years, and the worst environmental damage I recalled was from anthracite mining. That, however, had a legitimate purpose; wind turbines are a scam that serves only to enrich those who peddle and build them.

An amazed Dorothy looked at the big, gleaming, gold, onion-shaped cupolas atop the Holy Ascension Orthodox Church. ''Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas any more,'' she said. ''We must be over the rainbow!''

Then Dorothy looked past the cupolas, to where huge and ungodly structures dominated the horizon. ''Never mind, Toto,'' she said. ''We're still in Kansas after all.''

Actually, they were not in Kansas, and they certainly were not in the Land of Oz. They were in the Schuylkill County town of Frackville, where, if you are traveling north on Route 61, those structures (the ungodly ones, not the church cupolas) first come into prominent view.

A week ago, I had great fun bashing Kansas, my least favorite state, saying that if we must let ''hucksters and their politician pals'' corrupt landscapes with ugly and inefficient wind turbines, which produce dribbles of electricity at tremendous cost, then ''Kansas is the place to do it.''

That column came after I drove through Kansas and was horrified by the sight of wind turbines, stretching for more than 60 miles along Interstate 70. Luckily, Kansas already was ugly, so the aesthetic catastrophes were not so profound.

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An amazed Dorothy looked at the big, gleaming, gold, onion-shaped cupolas atop the Holy Ascension Orthodox Church. ''Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas any more,'' she said. ''We must be over the rainbow!''

Then Dorothy looked past the cupolas, to where huge and ungodly structures dominated the horizon. ''Never mind, Toto,'' she said. ''We're still in Kansas after all.''

Actually, they were not in Kansas, and they certainly were not in the Land of Oz. They were in the Schuylkill County town of Frackville, where, if you are traveling north on Route 61, those structures (the ungodly ones, not the church cupolas) first come into prominent view.

A week ago, I had great fun bashing Kansas, my least favorite state, saying that if we must let ''hucksters and their politician pals'' corrupt landscapes with ugly and inefficient wind turbines, which produce dribbles of electricity at tremendous cost, then ''Kansas is the place to do it.''

That column came after I drove through Kansas and was horrified by the sight of wind turbines, stretching for more than 60 miles along Interstate 70. Luckily, Kansas already was ugly, so the aesthetic catastrophes were not so profound.

Among several passionate responses was an e-mail letter from Bob Kayes of Macungie, who grew up in Shenandoah (generally pronounced ''shen-doh'' in the local patois), a little north of Frackville.

''If you want to see how invasive a wind farm can be, just take a ride in Schuylkill County,'' he wrote. ''A ridge that stretches from Mahanoy City to Centralia, an area of the best hunting and passive recreational woods in that part of the county, has been ruined with these monstrosities.''

I had not visited that area for years, and the worst environmental damage I recalled was from anthracite mining. That, however, had a legitimate purpose; wind turbines are a scam that serves only to enrich those who peddle and build them.

Kayes, I'm distressed to say, was right. To truly appreciate how repulsive they are, I had to look more closely.

I drove through Shenandoah, past the Anthracite Miners Monument, and stopped at the top of the ridge. A barricaded gravel road headed to the gigantic monuments to greed, mendacity and waste. They appeared to be several hundred feet away, but it turned out to be more like a mile on foot. When I reached the base of the first one, it only made me more depressed.

Every tree on the mountaintop had been bulldozed around the monstrosities. Most were idle, but I could hear the sickening whoosh of the blades on one.

When I lived in Schuylkill County, Frackville and Shenandoah were never my idea of lovely towns, but they had redeeming qualities. Surrounding mountains, except where tainted by culm banks and other mining scars, were beautiful.

Now, even that beauty has been raped, all the way to surreal Centralia, the town mostly destroyed decades ago by an underground mine fire. You'd think they would spare poor Centralia further indignities.

''When I was growing up, we used to hunt that whole ridge,'' Kayes said when I called. ''They spoiled all the wildlife in that area. There's no habitat left.''

He was not the only person with such lamentations. Tom Stacy of Zanesville, Ohio, referred to my point last Friday about how much scenic land must be destroyed for wind turbines. I said it would require cutting every tree in a milewide, 250-mile-long swath atop Blue Mountain to make as much electricity as one nuclear power plane on a site the size of a ball field.

''You hit the ball [field] vs. miles of clear-cut right on the sweet spot,'' Stacy wrote. He should know; he helps run a national organization called Alliance for Wise Energy Decisions and sent me a comprehensive new report on wind turbine land use.

''Without the contrivances of modern political involvement,'' the report says, wind power could never be considered. (That refers to subsidies, which the public is forced to pay, to prop up wind turbines promoted by hucksters and government officials who are in cahoots with them.)

Wind turbines typically need propellers 270 feet in diameter, the report says, and ''wind energy necessitates 450 times the industrial sprawl of nuclear.''

Laura Jackson of Everett, Pa., who heads the Save Our Allegheny Ridges organization in southcentral Pennsylvania, wrote to tell me about her http://www.saveouralleghenyridges.org Web site, which says, ''our mountains and ridge tops are at risk because elected officials in Washington and Harrisburg failed to realize that unregulated wind power development would alter Pennsylvania mountaintops forever.''

And so it went. The calls and letters were overwhelmingly supportive of my view that wind turbines are abominations. I am told some comments attached to my column on the Internet disagreed, but any commentary that is anonymous and unaccountable is worth about as much as graffiti, and the contempt I have for it exceeds even the contempt I have for Kansas.

Anyway, we're not in Kansas any more, Toto. But we may as well be.


Source: http://www.mcall.com/news/o...

JUL 3 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/20972-we-re-off-to-see-the-wonderful-scam
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