Saturday, December 03, 2005

Salesmen

To the editor, Seven Days:

Peter Freyne (Inside Track, Nov. 30) has apparently fallen for the sleight of hand that points to gas-guzzling SUVs and peak oil and then switches to advocating giant wind turbines -- which don't power our cars and airplanes or heat our homes and workplaces. And very little oil is used to generate electricity.

The choice is not between staying in Iraq and building wind turbines. In fact, the motivations and justifications for invading Iraq are similar to those behind wind development: We must destroy these sites to save them; It would be much worse without us; Outrageous profits for a few and the suffering of many are a necessary cost; You'll thank us some day.

Also similar is the casual acceptance of "cherry-picked intelligence" by otherwise reasonable people, perhaps out of fear. Shouldn't one be a little dubious when it is the developer himself dismissing environmental concerns about his project?

Dave Rapaport of East Haven Wind told Freyne that "anywhere around the world, you've got an average mortality rate of about two birds per turbine per year." The National Wind Coordinating Committee, however, finds that mortality rates in the U.S. range widely ("about two birds" being the lowest) and are highest in the mountains of the east. Besides birds, the amount of bats killed is so disturbing even to the industry that they kicked out the researchers -- for the same reason U.N. weapons inspectors were taken out of Iraq, because they were no longer "helpful."

Like the most ignorant of right-wing media brutes, Freyne would rather beat up on the Free Press than explore independently whether or not wind power is a viable energy option in the first place, let alone whether or not its its benefits actually outweigh its negative impacts.

Denmark -- the poster child for large-scale wind -- hasn't changed their energy consumption one whit because of wind. Nor has any other country. German grid manager Eon Netz warns that expansion of wind will cause more building of conventional power plants not less.

The wind developers are salesmen and as transparently dishonest as George W. Bush. They'll talk about the coming hydrogen economy, cats, peak oil, battery technology, and how just like you they care about the environment and our shared future -- anything other than the fact that wind turbines built today don't actually do anything about our energy use. They play the guilts, fears, and prejudices of their marks like a fiddle.

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