The general public and public agencies have apparently missed an important story regarding Travis AFB that has occurred over the last year. In an extraordinary show of concern, base officials have issued four letters objecting to the continued addition of wind turbines to the Montezuma Hills wind resource area.
Air Force officials almost never make public statements about local land use issues, so these letters are highly unusual and show urgent concern.
However, these concerns have fallen on deaf ears with Solano County leadership.
Wind turbines create false signals and cause planes to drop off the radar scope, which should cause a significant safety concern for everyone. This impacts flight safety for aircraft Travis controls and monitors, yet the county continued to approve the next addition of 75 turbines. How did this happen?
Simply put, the wind company went over the head of the local commander and went to higher levels to secure a deal. In return for $1 million to study how to mitigate the problem, and stating that 75 new turbines would not increase the damage that the 750 existing turbines have already done, higher HQ then directed Travis to withdraw objections.
It is a stunning indictment of Solano County’s leadership that Travis stands alone on this issue. Where are our elected officials? What if this were Genentech or Anheuser-Busch expressing concern about a public safety issue?
The base has called for no new turbines until a new digital radar is installed and tested in October this year. This position deserves our support, yet not one public official has publicly supported the Travis Commander’s concerns. In fact, the only person who has spoken out in support of Travis’ position is former County Supervisor Skip Thompson.
Now that the issues are clear, we should stand with out local base commander and insist that no additional projects be approved until the radar interference problem is solved. Money should not trump safety.
Jack Batson, Chair, Citizens’ Committee to Protect Travis, Fairfield
7 April 2008
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