April 15, 2006

Wind power development like logging and mining

According to an Associated Press story yesterday, the Synergics company in Maryland is threatening to sue the state because environmental protection of rare and endangered species may cause their plan to erect seventeen 420-ft-high turbines on Backbone Mountain (Maryland's highest ridge) to be rejected. Their reasoning: there is logging and mining in the area, although apparently outside the state's environmental jurisdiction.

Instead of proving their green credentials by modifying the project to fit the law, Synergics simply threatens the state with legal action. After all, they've spent a lot of investors' money to develop a 40-MW project, and any less could mean some embarrassing losses, threatening Synergics' ability to raise money for future projects. The environment? What's that?

Note that such belligerence which belies the "green" mask is not unusual for wind developers. It was one of their faults in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, which recently passed strict guidelines regulating wind turbine erections. One of the developers there, Emerging Energies, after trying to slip their permit request in the day before a year-long moratorium began last year, stood before the Planning and Parks Supervisors at the last meeting of the ordinance commission and renewed his threat to sue them if they passed the ordinance as it was shaping up. The county attorney was actually so worried that he was urging board members to reject it -- until WINDCOWS members found out and raised the issue at a meeting and got him to admit that it was indeed a defensible ordinance and the behavior of the developers hardly argued in their favor. Another of the developers, Navitas, is in court to get an extension to a conditional use permit they already hold but which expires in December. That county attorney wrote a letter to the judge claiming that the board is in favor of extension. He was forced to admit that he wrote the letter on his own and that the board knew nothing about it and had never even met to discuss the issue.

Shenanigans -- not an interest in the environment or the neighbors -- characterize industrial wind power development. They are indeed Enron's heirs.

wind power, wind energy, environment, environmentalism, ecoanarchism