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Senator Jay Rockefeller asked to reconsider his position on industrial wind  

Author:  | Aesthetics, Environment, Health, Law, Maryland, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Wildlife

Dear Senator Rockefeller,

Please accept my personal warm greetings. We have visited on several occasions, particularly on health care. You may remember me as a physician who yearns for an improved Medicare for All, as embodied in (H.R. 676).

I’ve just read with interest the email response you are making to people actively concerned about your policies on “renewable” energy and I’d like to make the following comments about industrial wind. Personally, I favor subsidies that go to small hydropower development and research on burning coal more cleanly and think they should be increased.

But, on industrial wind:

  • Thank you for your steady objection to (H.R. 2454). The Cap and Trade policy has not worked in Europe and will not work in the U.S. Purchasing a permit to pollute and passing the cost to the public just does not make sense.
  • Your support of (S. 1462), (S. 3813) and (S. 433) appears to be stated in the affirmative when you say that, in the past, you have supported renewable energy standards and have been the major driving force behind the construction of new wind turbines across the country. This is where I plead for you to re-examine your policy. Please, please educate yourself about the unintended consequences of the proliferation of wind turbines, particularly along Appalachian ridge tops. If you do, you will find:
  1. The inefficiency of the turbines related to wind fluctuations will require far more land disruption than does strip mining for coal. First reported by the Nature Conservancy and subsequently documented elsewhere, even by Senator Lamar Alexander you will find it very apparent that if you pass laws that mandate even 15% of electricity be from sources like industrial wind you will be sentencing the majority of our celebrated West Virginia Hills to be pock marked with giant turbines and thousands of miles of new transmission lines to serve them. Tragically, this physical and ecologic transformation of West Virginia’s trademark landscape will have no significant amelioration of green house gasses because of the required co-generation of base load stand by.
  2. The federal and state tax subsidies for industrial wind (and solar) are far out of balance for other energy sources, 15 times more. Industrial wind must receive this largess to get started AND to keep going. Explain to me how it is good public policy to provide such a favoritism to an industry that cannot contribute to the global warming problem in a significant way?
  3. Imposing renewable standards will drive up electricity costs very significantly. That means the cost of this new energy policy will be disproportionally borne by the middle class and the poor. I feel very confident that is not your intent and will be very sad if it becomes your legacy.

Senator, I belong to The Allegheny Highlands Alliance (AHA), a relatively new grass roots organization with representation in WV, MD, PA, VA, and SC. Our mission is to, in an intellectually honest, scientifically based way; educate the public about the realities of industrial wind and the pending legislation that would further codify its undeserved position. There are several other issues, including impact on migrating song birds and raptors, destruction of habitat for rare terrestrials (both concerns of the USFWS and the WVDNR), negative health impacts from constant low frequency noise inflicted on people living close to an industrial wind facility, water resource disruption, to site a few.

We believe there is a better way to promote alternative energy than to dictate a percentage standard and then to sit back to see what happens. That is getting the cart before the horse. Once again, I implore you, with the assistance of staff to open your mind and investigate the above observations. AHA has extensive expertise on this subject and, if invited, we would appreciate the honor to meet with you for a briefing.

Thank you,

Wayne C. Spiggle, MD
West Virginia

(((( ))))

Allegheny Treasures notes:

Dr. Wayne Spiggle is well known in West Virginia and Maryland as an effective social justice advocate and environmental leader. As a former president of MedChi, the Maryland Medical Society, he pressed for universal health care and he is still involved in that fight. As a Mineral County commissioner, he has promoted quality of life issues and emphasized the importance of developing a welcoming environment to encourage jobs and business development. For his public health initiatives he was recently recognized by the West Virginia State Medical Society with their prestigious Excellence in Medicine Award.

Spiggle has studied industrial wind with the critical eye of a scientist. He has concluded that industrial wind is poor public policy because it requires base load back up from fossil fuel, cannot reduce green house gases, receives public subsidies some 15 times more than other energy sources, is destined to raise electricity bills for homes and businesses and is handicapped by very significant environmental issues sufficient to bring about a transformation of Appalachian ridge tops of geologic proportions while having a disastrous mortality on migrating song birds, raptors and resident bats.

A member of the Allegheny Highlands Alliance (AHA), he has joined their mission to inform the public about industrial wind by adhering to the principals on intellectual honesty and scientific based knowledge.

The Allegheny Highlands Alliance (AHA) is a consortium of citizen/environment organizations with membership in five states along the Allegheny Front. The AHA is in the process of discovering the facts about industrial wind, its potential to reduce green house gases, its economics and the impact of industrial wind energy project installations on the ecology and human health.

The purposes of AHA shall include but not be limited to the following:

  1. To advance public knowledge and understanding of the cultural, biological, environmental diversity, uniqueness, and sensitivity of the major ridgelines that comprise the Allegheny Highlands;
  2. To preserve and protect areas of particular scenic, geologic, biologic, historic, wilderness, and/or recreational importance in the Allegheny Highlands;
  3. To aid in the establishment of responsible policies to protect scientific, educational or aesthetic values;
  4. To conduct regional and resource studies as a basis for the wise use of the various resources of the Allegheny Highlands; to develop programs in energy conservation and wise production; and to serve local communities, the region, the people of the Allegheny Highlands as an agency for popular enlightenment, for cultural improvement, and for scientific advancement;
  5. To advocate governmental policies for the conservation and wise management of energy and natural resources of the Allegheny Highlands.

AHA Contact Larry Thomas, President, at larryvthomas@aol.com

This material is the work of the author(s) indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this material resides with the author(s). As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send queries to query/wind-watch.org.

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