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Common Sense Gone as we're "sWINDled" Again! 

I continue to be amazed, and alarmed, by decisions being made in regard to industrial wind installations without the foreign-owned developers first being required to provide proof of all of their claims. It has always been my understanding that good common sense business practices dictate that responsible persons first demand proof of claims being made before jumping into business with anyone, and then seek competitive bids in order to assure the absolute best service, goods, and financial agreement possible for the person, community, and/or entire region entering into these business deals. To date, neither has happened in the case of industrial wind energy development in Western New York. Sadly, what we are left with is the looming industrialization of our countrysides, the apparent indifference as to whether wind actually does what it claims or not, and many other unanswered questions.

Questions like:

1.) Since we know that wind can never provide RELIABLE, base load power, the very basis of the industry’s existence are their claims that wind energy will reduce CO2 emissions, our dependence on fossil fuels, and thereby reduce global warming. Proving these claims then demands asking: What independent, transparent measurement has been done anywhere in the world, showing the fuels, and CO2 emissions that wind energy actually displaces?

2.) Have elected officials asked industrial wind salespeople to provide any actual output numbers from existing projects? If not, why not?

3.) Why aren’t our townships demanding competitive bids, as is required for all other purchases and business deals, to assure themselves and their townspeople that they are getting the absolute best deal possible?

4.) Who’s really running the show here? Us, or them? If these projects are to be pursued at all, shouldn’t developers be made to follow existing rules and recommendations, instead of being allowed to craft and restructure laws to suit themselves? (i.e. – zoning laws which have always determined setbacks from property lines, not foundations of people’s homes – which is nothing less than back-door eminent domain!)

5.) Horizon Wind salesperson, Anne Humphrey, confirmed in her 2/18/08 letter to the editor, that the proposed Dairy Hills Wind Project is only a “Class 2 project.” The industry’s own trade association, the American Wind Energy Association, and both the U.S. Dept. of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, all state that on a scale of 1 – 7, a Class 4 wind resource is necessary to be considered suitable for the development of wind energy projects. So, why then, are our tax dollars being spent on projects that their own numbers prove can never be economically viable here?

6.) Isn’t it a moral and ethical obligation of our elected officials to care whether a product actually works or not, when it is all of OUR money that is being used to pay for it?

7.) When decision makers freely admit that “It is all about the money,” and don’t care to investigate whether it really works or not, isn’t the sad but true analysis then, that they are allowing themselves to be bribed with our own tax dollars? (It was Ben Franklin who said that if the taxpayers can vote themselves other taxpayers money, that will be the end of the republic.)

8.) Due to the complete well-thought out planning & marketing genius of industrial wind energy developers, “industrial wind energy complexes” have been termed wind “farms”. In the proposed Dairy Hills project alone, 96 separate locally-owned “farms” and parcels are encompassed within their 7,950 acre wind “farm”, and this doesn’t include the non-participating homeowners now stuck living within the project’s footprint. The developers haven’t had to purchase, or pay appropriate taxes on, a single acre of this land. Do you actually think anyone other than the wind energy corporation will have control over this land going forward?

I think we’ve all heard the saying, “Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” I know that many have referred to the industrial wind salespeople as “snake-oil salesmen.” But, have you ever really stopped to think about how unbelievably reminiscent of the old Wild West Traveling Medicine Shows, the whole “Industrial Wind Road Show” really is? Consider the historical facts that a friend of mine recently wrote about, which truly clarify how we are being “sWINDled” again.

We’ve all seen the old westerns that included in their story lines the charlatan doctors who came to town peddling their absurd remedies to the unsuspecting, trusting townspeople. We’d sit and wonder as we watched that old flick, “How could anyone be so gullible? If I was there, I would speak up and expose those frauds!”

In reality, these scams were actually quite sophisticated. Most people were taken in by a series of very clever, well-planned tricks and stunts used by these medicine peddlers. The larger traveling shows employed advance men to work the area before they actually arrived in town. (Sound familiar?)

When the show actually entered town for all to see, there was a circus-like fanfare, typically with a band leading a procession of professionally-decorated wagons. Skits and other diversions were used to attract audiences, and to lower their sales resistance. The crowd gathering was eventually treated to the “Lecture” (now called a “commercial” or “advertisement”).

While the Lecture was going on, some assistants moved through the crowd garbed as Quakers to lend an air of moral respectability to the whole affair. “Shills” were paid people who stood up and gave enthusiastic testimony as to the effectiveness of the phony product.

Native Americans were frequently recruited to promote the notion of “natural”, or environmentally-friendly medicines, which were given names like Wright’s Indian Vegetable Pills, Seminole Cough Balsam, or Kickapoo Juice.

Here we are, many years later, and supposedly so much more intelligent and worldly-wise. Yet, here we go again! Are we really going to allow ourselves to be “sWINDled” by these snake-oil salesmen – the hucksters of the early 21st Century?

Mary Kay Barton, Castile

Warsaw Country Courier

6 March 2008

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

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial educational 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 requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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