May 6, 2006

Conservation Law Foundation ignores standards

The Associated Press report of Thursday's arguments before the Vermont Public Service Board over constructing wind turbines in East Haven (for which the hearing officer recommended denial of permission) describes the testimony of one supporter of the project.
Sandra Levine, a CLF [Conservation Law Foundation] lawyer, told the board she frequently climbs Hunger Mountain in Worcester, which is near her home. From the summit, she can see ski trails and power lines. She wanted to know why those weren't visual blight but wind power is. "I'm concerned now that we're holding wind turbines to a higher standard," Levine said.
Is she now a supporter of ski trails and power lines? Would she support developing the top of Hunger Mountain with ski trails and power lines? Would she support a line of 250-foot-high towers with 150-foot-long rotating wings attached to bus-sized generator housings, all anchored in huge holes filled with thousands of tons of cement and steel -- along with strong and straight access roads and power lines and clearcutting -- on the top of Hunger Mountain, or all along the Worcester and Northfield mountains?

Wind turbines are not being held to a higher standard. They are huge and uniquely intrusive (don't forget the noise and vibration and the effect on wildlife as well as humans), and they particularly target ridgelines which are rigorously protected.

We would have to be in desperate straits, and wind power would have to be an incredibly beneficial technology, to consider erecting industrial power plants on the ridgelines. But we have hardly begun to seriously reduce our energy demand, and wind power has in fact proved to be almost useless in supplying the grid. Industrial wind power is a symptom of waste and sprawl, not part of a solution. Rather than being held to higher standards, developers and their agents complain that they are being held to any standards at all.

It is understandable that predatory capitalists, abetted by lazy politicians, push these things. But that organizations like CLF, VPIRG, and Greenpeace willfully fall for the sales pitch is disturbing indeed.

wind power, wind energy, wind farms, wind turbines, Vermont, environment, environmentalism, anarchism, anarchosyndicalism, ecoanarchism