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It would be an outrage to place turbines on state's public lands  

Permitting the placement of windmills in state forests and parks would be an abomination – an outrage against the very concept of public lands set aside to permit the enjoyment of nature, preserve habitat for wild animals and plants, and protect watersheds.

And yet, there it was, being floated at the Penn Future Clean Energy Conference last week in East Pennsboro Twp. by none other than Michael DiBerardinis, state secretary of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Declared the individual responsible for state parks and forests: “We can’t have our cake and eat it, too. Siting wind turbines on public lands is an imperative, not an option.”

DiBerardinis subsequently modi fied his statement, saying he didn’t mean to imply that state parks were be ing considered for wind farms, just state forests. Which doesn’t change a thing.

This is not the first time DiBerardinis has shown his disdain for what ought to be his No. 1 job: preserving what little is left of Penn’s Woods in its purest state. It’s bad enough that nature is under assault everywhere one turns. But to hear it promoted by the individual who should be the pre-eminent protector of nature in the state is abysmal.

We do not for a moment underestimate the challenge posed by global warming, or the huge impact it could have on this state, its forests, wildlife and, not least, economy. But we don’t buy into the perverse notion that we must destroy nature in order to save it.

The wind-energy possibilities available on private land have barely been scratched, unless one also buys into the dubious view that windmills must be sited on mountaintops to achieve maximum efficiency.

A little inefficiency not only is in order, but should be mandatory. We cannot believe that, to make the most of wind energy, flat lands must be avoided.

Instead of the usual American response of building the biggest machine to produce the largest possible amount of energy, regardless of other circumstances, all sorts of wind possibilities should be explored, including micro-windmills and placing windmills in urban locations, as is taking hold in Europe.

So-called “clean energy” would be sullied by opening up public lands to windmills, solar collectors, transmission lines, nuclear power plants and other industrial fixtures, regardless of their alleged necessity or imperative. It boggles the mind how often the foxes guarding the hen house come up with an excuse to violate the very principles and resources they’ve been sworn to protect.

It is dismaying and disheartening to see Gov. Ed Rendell and crew entertaining such deplorable environmental policies. DiBerardinis would fit right in with the current Interior and Agriculture departments in Washington, where turning over the nation’s public lands to the exploiters – rather than preserving them for future generations – is job No. 1.

The Patriot-News

5 June 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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