February 14, 2009

Pulling spokes out of the wheel

The director of the Audubon Society is also chair of the wind industry's "American Wind Wildlife Institute" (AWWI), where she provides a face of concern to allow industrial wind development to continue without serious scrutiny.

This is well beyond weighing pros and cons, or making the best of inevitable development, because not only are the cons accepted as necessary, the pros are assumed and unquestioned.

Thus it is not much concern that Levin puts forth. In the February North American Windpower, she sounds like a corporate spokesperson rather than a defender of birdlife: "At AWWI, we don't propose shutting down and not building wind farms while we study impacts, but we do need to have a better understanding of where these impacts occur the most."

As the article notes, "AWWI was created last year with support from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) board of directors and the AWEA siting committee to address regional -- rather than site-specific -- issues related to wind development and wildlife and habitat protection." In other words, by looking at the big picture, they hope to ignore the many -- cumulative -- local pictures.

Another part of the plan is to "educate" people, which is to say that environmentalists and conservationists who thought they had legitimate ecological concerns have to "get on board" to help promote an industry that directly threatens those areas of concern. In the eyes of AWWI, that is the only responsible thing to do: Don't question the logic and record of large-scale wind energy, question instead your own defense of the voiceless.

Levin: "We need to separate the [not-in-my-backyard] concerns from the legitimate concerns. We can't say 'no' to all energy development. ... This isn't esoteric. We don't know what spoke in the wheel we can pull out without the wheel collapsing. That's why this is such important work."

No. Important work is trying to keep the wheel of life intact, not joining the predatory developers in kicking out its spokes. Studying the results is not going to put those spokes back.

wind power, wind energy, wind turbines, wind farms, environment, environmentalism, animal rights