If it were good for the community, the community would embrace it with open arms. That has not happened. What the community sees instead is the corporate agenda. Pillage the landscape, tear down some houses, kill the town, pollute the night sky, who cares? The company has gotten and will get subsidy checks that would make your average welfare mom green with envy and the P.R. can tell the whole world how green it is. Look, green! Look, windmills!!! Soooo greeen.
Green is as green does. To build a wind farm on an undisturbed landscape atop a fault-created ridge with salmon streams on both sides; by constructing a concrete plant first, then a long new road and power lines through private property to Rio Dell and then the wind turbines is not green, or clean, at all.
To be green with green technology does not include cutting the town of Petrolia off from Ferndale and forcing anyone going to the Mattole River region to drive an extra 1.25 hours each way. To be green with green technology does not destroy virgin landscape, nor does it light the night sky in an area famous for undisturbed night views. To be green is not to destroy a town’s primary businesses, which include ranching, local shopping and tourism.
The numbers of trucks and the scope of the project would be absolutely fine, if it were adjacent to an existing power plant, or along a road that was already accessible. But they’re talking about isolating Petrolia during construction, demolishing historic buildings and homes, and running dozens of trucks a day through Ferndale and up the Wildcat.
company and its stockholders.
The homeowners who are expected to host the power lines do not wish them, nor the access road. The homeowners and business owners of Ferndale just showed they don’t want the project either.
Shell Oil representatives went around to the media pitching their deal. Why? Because they know they don’t have community support in Ferndale nor much support in Rio Dell. There are no 15,000 homes in need of power, unless someone is planning a development like that that no one knows about, yet. The houses that are here are hooked to the existing grid and no one is running out of juice. Many farms in the Eel River bottoms have installed their own windmills and have removed themselves from the grid.
So people down here do understand Green Energy, but we understand corporate “growth at any cost” philosophy too.
Why does Shell want to do this project at all, you might ask? Well, there’s millions of dollars in Federal Subsidies behind this project. So we’re all paying to have our landscape raped in the name of green, not the shallow green of environmentalism, but the deep deep green of the U.S. dollars they’ll rake in while the locals pay through the nose for the damages.
After your article was written, the online commentators started bashing, but without learning the whole set of issues first. From afar they trashed the people who live here and have had plenty of time to read the information available so far and to consider the impact on the lifestyle we have chosen and help create.
To them and others I’d say, if it’s not your towns affected, it’s not your issue and you can hate on Ferndale all you want. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but you don’t live down here, you weren’t at the meeting and you don’t realize they’re trying to play us all for fools.
The people at the meeting were not actors, nor paid by PG&E. They were people who own property here, have roots here, have family here. They have businesses here, they pay their taxes from here. If it were good for the community, the community would embrace it with open arms. That has not happened. What the community sees instead is the corporate agenda. Pillage the landscape, tear down some houses, kill the town, pollute the night sky, who cares? The company has gotten and will get subsidy checks that would make your average welfare mom green with envy and the P.R. can tell the whole world how green it is. Look, green! Look, windmills!!! Soooo greeen.
I’d remind you that, “Dangle some benefits in front of the rubes and let’s see if they play along,” is a tactic last used on this community by Mr. Hurwitz at PALCO, and we all know how that came out.
Ellin Beltz resides in Ferndale.
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