Saturday, July 16, 2005

Coal lobby supports wind power

It is often assumed that industrial wind power is a threat to the coal and nuclear industries and that any criticism of giant wind turbines effectively supports coal and nuclear power. Criticism is often dismissed with accusations that they are paid for by coal and nuclear lobbies. But how could an industry that even its most ardent advocates project could produce only 5% of the U.S.'s electricity be a threat to the industries that will still provide as much as ever?

In fact, the nuclear lobby is riding high on the obsessive focus on carbon emissions, presenting itself as carbon free while ignoring its many other problems that remain. And the coal lobby couldn't be happier that so many people believe wind energy will clean up the air by replacing coal-generated energy. They know that wind power won't replace anything, but as long as people keep thinking it will, the focus is not on actually cleaning up the power sources we use, such as coal.

A key lobbying firm for coal plants fighting emission controls has been Bracewell & Giuliani. Their man Frank Maisano ("Director of Strategic Communications") has recently been active in Highland County, Va., on behalf of a proposed project of up to 22 2-MW turbines (each of them 400 feet tall) on the Allegheny Ridge on the border with West Virginia. He issued a press release Thursday praising its approval by the county board of supervisors.

It seems it is the wind industry and its supporters, not those who oppose industrializing wild and rural places, who are in bed with coal.

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