We elect our leaders not only because we believe they will be responsive to our daily demands, but also because we believe them capable of taking a larger, longer view. We elect our leaders because we believe them courageous enough to address today’s pressing issue while they anticipate tomorrow’s.
Regarding industrial wind power, where does the Pocahontas County Commission stand?
There are currently industrial wind projects in some stage of development in eight West Virginia counties, including Greenbrier, Webster, Randolph and Pendleton. Highland New Wind Development is located in Highland County, Virginia, adjacent to the Pocahontas County line.
In other words, Pocahontas County is surrounded by industrial wind. Logic would dictate that, given the height of our ridgelines, it is only a matter of time before Big Wind comes here. For a preview of views to come: Drive to Elkins.
Science shows that locating industrial wind turbines on forested ridgetops far removed from urban markets makes no economic sense. Local rates go up, not down, when Big Wind arrives, because local rate-payers have to shoulder the costs of grid upgrades to ship the electrons to faraway markets. Common sense indicates that short-term construction jobs are not worth the long-term destruction of our natural heritage, community identity, and ultimate, ever-more-valuable drawing card: our natural beauty.
Theoretical property tax revenues, if collected, are not adequate compensation for the environmental and social costs. There is no place in the US where property values have increased when industrial wind has come to town. Want a real-world, local view? Talk to a real estate agent in Elkins.
Whether or not we agree on the short-term benefits of industrial wind, I bet we can agree on this: When Big Wind sets up shop, we want them to obey the law.
Aren’t we, all of us, sick and tired of watching Big Business get away with murder? Don’t we, all of us, want to prevent yet another extractive energy industry from getting a Free Pass in West Virginia where safety and environmental compliance is concerned?
Don’t we, all of us, want our elected leaders to protect our interests, not just today, but for the benefit of our children and grandchildren?
When industrial wind comes calling, with their sponsored community events, ice cream cones and hot dogs, is the County Commission prepared to ask hard questions? And, more important, does the Commission have the will to demand hard answers?
Dawn Baldwin Barrett
Brightside Acres, Bartow
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