Ocotillo residents report that the dust storms, that have been plaguing their town since the neighboring Wind Farm was built, now bring a black or dark dust.
This is totally unlike the light tan colored sand of the surrounding desert.
Some Ocotillo residents are concerned that this black dust could be asphalt that was added to the crusher-fine base material that was put down on the access roads. They have pictures of the developer, Pattern Energy, taking asphalt grindings from the close by interstate and hauling it up to the local rock quarry and processing it with the ground up rock for the access roads.
“We also have aerial photos of these roads and these roads look black in color as if they are asphalt,” Pelley says.
“We are in the process of having this black dust/sand analyzed.” he added. “I have taken pictures of this dark colored sand in my pool after this last dust storm, it is everywhere in the house and window seals. If this sand/dust contains petroleum asphalt we could all be breathing this which cannot be good.”
Ocotillo has been afflicted by periodic dust storms ever since construction began on the Ocotillo Wind Farm, which surrounds the town on three sides.
In the videos below, Pelley compares storms of similar magnitude. There is no dust in the first one, from 2011, which was made prior to construction of the wind farm.
The second was made, under similar conditions, a few days ago.
Similar dust storms have been reported in Phoenix, AZ, since the Dry Lake Wind Farm was built, and in Lubbock, Texas, after construction of the Wind Farm at Rosco.
Contrary to what industry apologists maintain, it is not certain that industrial scale desert projects like this are beneficial. As the Palen solar project’s environmental analysis admitted, “In order to build the facility, the plants, animals and soil of the native desert acreage are damaged and destroyed, which releases CO2. Presently, there is still dispute among scientists as to how to accurately measure the benefits and the loss.”
In addition to dust, Ocotillo is now afflicted by periodic floods – which are believed to have been the result of access roads channelling the rainwater – and incursions of a white “paint-like” substance.
“We believe that it could be soil stabilizer, not sure though,” Pelley writes. “Soil stabilizer was added to the water to control dust on the access roads and around the turbines and it was in white powder format I believe. Our concerns are: If this is what it is, will the animals be okay drinking it? Will it have any effect on our soul source aquifer? Will it kill plants? Is it toxic? Will it not allow water to get through the soil to recharge our aquifer? Was it diluted properly? Was there too much soil stabilizer added to the water to try to control the dust? Will it carry toxins downstream into our homes i.e. the Round-Up that is being applied on the access roads?”
Ocotillo is dwarfed by the 438 foot high wind turbines that surround it on three sides.
Parke Ewing wrote, “The biggest problem that I have with the wind turbines is every time I glance up to enjoy the old view from my home, I see a wind turbine that reminds me how the Bureau of Land Management and the Imperial County Supervisors ignored the opposing comments of residents and many, many caring people that were concerned about property values, visual pollution, desert destruction, lack of winds, dust, wildlife, night lights, vegetation, safety concerns, potential flooding, low frequency noise, irritating sounds, sleepless nights, anxiety, wind turbine syndrome, recreation and dirty electricity to name a few.
“Living next to wind turbines is a living hell,” Pelley writes. “The rotating motion of the blades is very disturbing. When I come out of my house the first thing I notice is the blades in motion, I forget why I was going outside, this motion grabs your attention and you lose your train of thought. I find it hard to do the simplest things anymore, it’s like my brain just shuts down. I can’t sit out on my front porch and enjoy the beautiful view I have of the Coyote Mountains anymore, all I see is wind turbines. At night it’s just as bad, bright red flashing lights shining right into my eyes, I can see these very disturbing invasive bright lights from my kitchen table. Every window I look out of in my house I can see wind turbines and the flashing red lights at night. Wind turbines are as close as 1/2 a mile from my house. If the wind is blowing they are noisy, it sounds like a jet that never goes by.”