September 21, 2005

GAO calls for more oversight of wind facilities

As reported by the Associated Press, Congress's Government Accountability Office has determined that local and state regulators sometimes lack expertise in weighing the impact of wind power facilities on birds and bats and other wildlife, so that "no one is considering the impacts of wind power on a regional or 'ecosystem' scale -- a scale that often spans governmental jurisdictions."

The trade group American Wind Energy Association has responded, saying that "such problems remain limited to two project areas." This is a little like the deluded Mr Deasy in James Joyce's Ulysses boasting that Ireland has never persecuted the Jews -- "because she never let them in," he adds, trying to remain solemn as a phlegmy laugh nearly chokes him.

Just so, the wind companies don't allow independent researchers in, so they can claim whatever results they want. The two projects where they admit problems are precisely the two projects where independent observers have managed to work: Altamont Pass in California (raptor deaths) and Mountaineer facility on the Allegheny ridge in West Virginia (bat deaths). At the latter, research was cut off as the brutal facts became too hard to spin.

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