March 22, 2011

Green Development?

To the Editor, New York Times:

By painting as "Nimby" all who question development plans, Elisabeth Rosenthal does a disservice to community participation in decision-making ["Green Development? Not in My (Liberal) Backyard", Week in Review, Mar. 13]. Such pejorative name-calling serves only to quash serious and open discussion.

Every development project requires a cost-benefit analysis, but the "greater good" is often evoked as a means of shutting out local concerns. The people who will be directly affected are best placed to ensure that the costs -- and the claimed benefits -- are properly assessed. It should not be a surprise that their conclusions are frequently different from those of developers and politicians.

This is certainly the case with wind power, which, when examined with the cold eye of someone facing major industrial development of a rural or even wild area, seems to be primarily a tax avoidance scheme for energy companies and investors. After decades of deployment, its other benefits (e.g., less carbon emissions from fossil fuel burning) have proven to be elusive at best. And its impacts -- on the environment, wildlife, and human neighbors -- far exceed the developers' reassurances.

Rosenthal also describes overseas acquiescence, but the European Platform Against Windfarms includes at last count 473 organizations from 21 countries, including 6 from Denmark and 68 from Germany. In the U.K. (with 78 groups signed on to the EPAW), industrialists regularly complain that a third of proposed wind energy facilities are blocked because of locals having a say on the future of their landscapes and their lives.

Eric Rosenbloom
President, National Wind Watch

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