June 20, 2006

Tug Hill: A Cautionary Tale

The following is by Calvin Luther Martin of Malone, N.Y., dated June 19, 2006.

Sue Brander is an older woman. In her sixties, I would hazard to guess. She's a gardener, raises Morgan horses and, in years past, was a "major event" organizer. Sue's also a professional writer.

Sue lives in a little town in the Mohawk Valley, New York. Right about the center of the state (close to Herkimer, NY, if you know the geography). Hilly, lovely area. Lots of Amish around.

This past winter Sue showed up on my radar screen: I spotted an article she wrote in the Richfield Springs, NY, newspaper, on wind turbines coming to town. It was obvious this woman named Sue Brander was much concerned.

Last week Sue staged a modest "major event" in Stark, a village near her home. She put together a 3-hour conference on wind energy, featuring Gordon Yancey, owner of the Flatrock Inn, smack in the middle of the Tug Hill Plateau (Lewis County, NY). Gordon is worth inviting to a wind conference because his inn is surrounded by 135 (give or take) industrial turbines. The closest being 1000' away. The Tug Hill turbines went on-line this past January. Sue also had Nick Pressley, owner of an environmental engineering firm, speak about environmental impacts of wind plants. She had another expert address the finances of wind energy and Dr. Nina Pierpont speak (by teleconference) about health hazards of living close to turbines.

It was a powerful evening, I am told. ...

Three days later Sue sent out the e-mail about her (adult) daughter visiting the Tug Hill windplant a day after the conference.

If you live anywhere near New York State, do what the wind salesmen are always inviting people to do: "Go see for yourself." The usual invitation runs like this: "Go to Fenner and see for yourself."

But don't go to Fenner, NY, where there are 20 smallish turbines (which, we have reason to think, have their generators turned off much of the time, to cut the noise for this Poster Child Wind Farm). Go, instead, to Tug Hill, and experience those 135 goliath turbines. Go, experience what Gordon Yancey daily experiences. (I have seen Gordon weep in public over the industrial freak show and neurological nightmare he must now live with.)

Go to Tug Hill to see for yourself if you, too, "keep wanting to turn left, because the whole world is turning left." Or, maybe you're one of the lucky 80% of the population that doesn't suffer from inner ear sensitivity (motion sickness), producing the vertigo and nausea this man, Jeremy, describes. I suppose if you're one of that 80% you can drive away (in a straight line) from Tug Hill and announce, as wind salesmen routinely do, that it's fine to have wind turbines littering the residential landscape -- that you don't find them (literally) nauseating and (literally) vertiginous and, hence, everyone should experience them the way you do.

Yes, I have heard this said many times in public meetings in Clinton, Ellenburg, and Brandon, NY. The people who say this go to church on a Sunday morn' and they lay claim, in addition, to having a functioning brain and, hence, modicum of intelligence. A modicum of morality and intelligence, as it were.

But as I leave these meetings, I have my doubts. And I think the Leviathan named Almighty Dollar has swallowed them whole.

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