Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Sleaze

Citizens of Lyman, New Hampshire, with Gardner Mountain targeted for a 160-foot wind measurement tower, are moving to define such setups as industrial rather than scientific use for purposes of zoning. The towers' only purpose is to plan the siting of industrial wind turbines -- at least 20 in Lyman's case. (They are also moving to forbid them and any other structures over 35 feet high, excepting farm buildings and antennas.)

As an example of the sleaziness they have to watch out for, a farmer in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, has defied the town ordinance that prevents his installing a measurement tower by putting the equipment on a mobile crane, saying such a "temporary" use is allowed. The town says anchoring it with guy wires doesn't suggest a short-term presence.

Developers typically insist that such towers be considered for permits on their own data-gathering merits, without regard to the reason they're sought, that is, a potential sprawling power plant on the site.

To clinch this deceit, the East Haven Windfarm company has removed all mention from its web site of plans for more towers beyond the 4-turbine "demonstration" project currently in the permitting process. They obviously don't want to remind people that they are planning to construct 50 turbines over three ridges. They want you to put that out of your mind and consider only the impact of the first four foot-in-the-door towers.

Courtesy of the "Wayback Machine," the web site used to proudly say, "Once operational, the six-megawatt East Mountain Demonstration Project is expected to stimulate substantial local and statewide support for Vermont wind energy. East Haven Windfarm will then propose increasing the size of the project to fifty turbines. ... As planned, the larger project will be composed of fifty 1.5-megawatt turbines, making it the largest wind farm in the Northeast. The turbines will be located on three ridgelines of Seneca, East, and East Haven Mountains."

What they have stimulated is substantial opposition. So no more boasting. Forget about the ambition to build "the largest wind farm in the Northeast." They now pretend to be satisfied shooting for just four turbines, and further interest is only in more "data gathering": They have applied to erect measurement towers on three other peaks nearby, this time without a hint about plans for actual turbine towers.

Claiming to be saving the planet, these people sure make a big effort to hide the facts.