February 16, 2006

Danziger condemns wind energy deaths

To the editor, Barre-Montpelier (Vt.) Times-Argus:

If Jeff Danziger ("An apology, sort of," Feb. 5) is concerned that coal miners die for our electricity (let's ignore for now the fact that Vermont doesn't get any electricity from coal, and that workers die on wind turbines, too), then he should look into the cause of those deaths a little more.

Soon after the deaths in West Virginia that inspired Danziger's cartoon, there was a similar event in Canada. But those trapped miners survived and were quickly rescued, because they had safety arrangements and emergency equipment that their U.S. counterparts can only dream of.

Danziger rightly condemns mountain top removal, yet that method of digging up coal is safer for the workers involved.

Obviously, Danziger would like to see less demand for coal however it's procured. But he himself writes, correctly, that "wind power won't alter our reliance on coal and nuclear electric generation."

Admirable as his concerns are, then, support for wind power development has nothing to do with them. No promoter of wind power can show a reduction of other fuel use due to giant wind turbines on the grid.

Wind power development has no benefit except for the developers and their bankers who are taking advantage of misguided policy to shovel public funds into their private accounts. So Danziger's real message seems to be that clearing and blasting our own mountains for wind turbines is necessary as symbolic atonement for our energy sins, not for actually changing our energy use.

He won't have to live with the giant machines, of course.

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