Some have suggested that Coun. Jim Brown has pulled numbers out of a hat in requesting strict minimum setbacks for wind turbines (“Setbacks deferred,” Chatham Daily News, May 6). Possibly, but that doesn’t mean there are fewer brains under Brown’s cap than under those worn by the various power companies bidding for our skies.
Certainly there is more heart in Brown’s proposal, and his reluctance to roll over and play dead should be applauded rather than criticized for lacking “science.”
Let’s get one thing straight: These power companies do not love us. Our geography is a means to an end (the building of turbines for the collection of vast subsidies and tax credits). Our shorelines are desirable insofar as the wind accumulates there. The birdlife is a problem to be “solved” by hired ornithologists. Ditto the wildlife: just ask the biologist who rents himself out to the latest company pitching for approval. Immediate and future local employment prospects are negligible.
The municipal tax department and a scattering of landowners will gain some rent money, and the rest of us will endure these things, or we will move.
The very least we can ask for is the basic protection offered by meaningful setbacks from those small things that some of us still care about: our homes, our lakes, our wetlands and woods, our bird migration and staging areas – those small things that give a life meaning.
At about twice the height of Chatham’s ethanol stack, these turbines are going to be in almost everyone’s back yard visually. For those to whom a view still matters, this is a steep price indeed. It seems to me that Coun. Brown’s is a very modest proposal in light of what we are being asked to sacrifice.
12 May 2008
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