Articles filed under Impact on Landscape from Texas
Wind farms are not environmentally friendly to land or to nature. For example, the excavation of leased land to install and support wind farms permanently alters that property’s landscapes, rock outcroppings and micro-environments – all of which are irreplaceable. ...The turbines are a blight for miles around, and they also interfere with endangered species. Current projects in Montague and Jack counties will negatively affect the migration paths and lay-over locations of Whooping Cranes. Current population numbers are estimated to be about 500 Whopping Cranes left.
That latest argument gained fresh attention when plans to build the Blue Hills Wind Farm in Val Verde County were unveiled. Critics claimed this new development could pose a threat to national security because Chinese businessman Guangxin Sun owns the land. They alleged that he had ties to the Chinese Communist Party and his company could use the wind farm to monitor U.S. military operations or interfere with the U.S. electrical grid.
Ellis was excited when she first heard about the wind farm. ...She started researching wind farms and cross-checked the sources the company listed at the bottom of its informational flier for the Wild Cat Creek Wind Farm. Reading studies and first-person accounts, she decided it might be hard to live near wind turbines, which emit constant noise and have flashing lights at night. ...Ellis also worries about her son, who has autism and is sound-sensitive. She worries he won't be able to stand the turbines and that they will have to leave the ranch.
Conflicts between energy producers and conservationists are nothing new in Texas, but a recent fight in Val Verde County centers around wind farms and whether they belong in one of the wildest natural areas left in the state. Members of the Devils River Conservancy, whose group includes landowners with property on the Devils River, have launched a campaign called “Don’t Blow It,” to advocate against wind development along the Devils and Pecos rivers north of the Texas-Mexico border.
“There was a large group of landowners here in Val Verde that are concerned about the impacts of that and their respective property rights. This is a very strong state for private property rights, and we belong to that line of thinking, and we believe we can do whatever we can on our individual properties, as long as it doesn’t harm our neighbors,” he added.
Opposition to wind farms in Texas is escalating as more projects are proposed close to where people live. More and more Texans find that giant turbines aren’t good neighbors. Now, no one is trying to eliminate renewable energy. What we – and many of your neighbors – are calling for is an honest discussion about the true costs of subsidizing wind energy.
In summary, we have a foreign corporation that stands to receive Billions of dollars of subsidies, paid for with your tax dollars that will build a wind farm, which will provide marginal, if any, benefit to anyone in our counties. In the process they will cause devastating destruction of the scenic Hill Country while destroying the tourism and hunting industry in our counties. Perhaps, all citizens of both Mason and Menard counties would be well served to do everything possible to halt the construction of this proposed wind farm.
"Wind in Brown County does not produce much electricity, it produces a lot of production tax credit and none of that ... stays in the county," Dr. Paul Burns, who owns land in May, said in his speech at the luncheon.
With wind farms being built closer and closer to Brown County, those opposed are stepping forward. Rancher Paul Burns and his family have owned their ranch for more than 140 years. Seven years ago, Burns says he was approached and asked for his land to be used for wind turbines.
As we've reported, the city council passed a resolution opposing that wind farm, which lies within the city's extraterritorial jurisdiction. The city is also attempting to annex that land.
“We definitely don’t like them. It’s cut our productivity,” said Sherri Bennack of Bennack Flying Service Inc., which does crop dusting for the area. “The safety concern is the biggest factor,” she said. “It takes a lot more time to get the job done and be able to spray. A lot of the times we can’t even do the job because they’re right there.”
"In 2009, we passed an ordinance that stated, wind energy turbines would only be allowed in commercial and industrial districts," said Danny Cornelius Canyon Code Enforcer Director. Even then, a specific use permit must be approved by the planning and zoning and city commission.
In the hill country where I live, there was a time when you could enjoy the blue haze from the distant hills, maybe set up a canvas to paint the sun setting behind them or just sit and watch while the color washed over them at dusk. Now those hills are dotted with wind generators churning out electricity. This pastoral scene looks nothing like the Texas kids imagined when they imagined cowboys and cattle drives.
"We attribute this warming primarily to wind farms," the study said. The temperature change could be due to the effects of the energy expelled by farms and the movement and turbulence generated by turbine rotors, it said. "These changes, if spatially large enough, may have noticeable impacts on local to regional weather and climate," the authors said.
Despite long-standing interest in the environmental impacts of such large-scale alternative energy installations, this is the first time anyone has measured how wind turbines can alter local temperatures over the long term, the scientists said. So far, the scientists don't know if these higher temperatures affect local rainfall or other weather patterns.
An environmental group outlined concerns Wednesday on how proposed offshore wind farms, poised to become the first in the Texas, might negatively affect wildlife. Baryonyx Corp. wants to install 200 wind turbines each in three areas off the South Texas coast, one of which is planned for the Coastal Bend. The group's comments to the Army Corps of Engineers illustrate why the project is likely to be one of the state's most scrutinized wind energy developments.
"The nation is about to confront a major infrastructure-transmission discussion," said Michael Webber, an engineering professor at the University of Texas at Austin. "And if it's hard in Texas, where we're good at it and we have experience and we've figured out funding models, what's it going to be like in the nation? It might be a very bruising fight."
Property owners from all across the Hill Country are worried that saving the environment might mean destroying their view, their investments and their quality of life. ..."The state has made a policy of moving wind energy from where the wind blows to where people live, but we have to do it in a way that respects landowners," said Barry T. Smitherman, Public Utility Commission chairman.
Sharyland Utilities, a unit of Hunt Consolidated, is one of the companies building a web of transmission lines to bring West Texas wind power to Dallas and other big cities. ...But Sharyland has proposed stringing one of the lines across the Palo Duro Canyon. ...Under three of five basic scenarios, the line would go from rim to rim of the second-largest canyon in the country. ...The Palo Duro Canyon power line is a dramatic example of the type of friction that accompanies the siting of many transmission lines. Other utilities building the wind lines face their own community concerns. PUC spokesman Terry Hadley said he expects most of the wind transmission lines to face opposition.
We, the residents of the Texas Panhandle, must demand respect for our natural treasures or we will lose them. ...Lastly, utility companies - do your homework. Take time to learn about the communities you are impacting. View the properties, visit with local historians, talk to the people. Above all, respect the landowners and citizens of this state and gain awareness of sensitive environments and locations before you propose routes for CREZ transmission lines. Once destroyed, environmentally and historically priceless properties such as the north Palo Duro Canyon can never be replaced.