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Valiant New Englanders battle industrial wind

Last Thursday night in Irasburg, Vermont, the town’s voters cast ballots to determine if the eco-bullying of Big Wind would ruin the local vistas with wind turbines. Later, as the count concluded, they had voted resoundingly NO to industrial wind development, 274 NO to 9 YES.

In this truly grass-roots effort, a very courageous group of locals, The Irasburg Ridgeline Alliance, had faced off against the PR campaign of industrial wind developer David Blittersdorf (Kidder Hill Community Wind Company,) and the vested interests of the Vermont state government, in what might be typically derided as another “not-in-my-backyard” squabble. Do these “progress deniers” really matter? Don’t they see the “big picture”?

Of course, when one understands the amount of money involved (1,603 tax breaks and payoffs to politicians), and the superficial urgency of political correctness in Vermont, it is hard to ignore the long odds that the 421 sensible Vermonters who signed a petition in Irasburg opposing this paltry 5-megawatt project will conclusively prevail against the developer and his political allies.

One hopes they do win, and that it sparks an all out fight against every one of these corrupting crony-capitalist ventures nationally. It ought to. Mainers should learn a lesson from Irasburg’s citizens. No one will rebuild your ridge lines and mountaintops after they blast them to flats for wind turbines, and the taxpayer slush funds are used up. Not First Wind, not Sun Edison, not Iberdrola, not Uncle Sam. And certainly not the supposed environmental groups supporting these “green energy” projects. Many of them have taken donations from, or reached friendly agreements with, the companies and their allies involved in promoting Big Wind.

Recently, a well organized informational meeting at Rockland City Hall regarding a somewhat vague proposal to build a LNG-powered electrical generating facility in Rockland highlighted both the irrational NIMBY attitudes about such a plant, along with a remarkably cogent analysis of Maine’s electrical grid and our electrical needs vs. capacity. One of the experts speaking on this subject outlined that Maine has excess generating capacity to our in-state needs, and in particular that there was no economic reason for the Big Wind projects here other than to sell the power and attendant renewable energy credits to Connecticut and New York. If this excess is accurate, then one might well question why Maine prevents excess hydro from Quebec sources from flowing into northern Maine to relieve the purportedly high cost of electricity to our paper industry. Maybe so we can bankrupt every major employer in northern Maine and create another big government land holding for nothing.

While the different experts opined on what they thought about the factors that might affect Rockland residents and the local economy, it seemed obvious that the timeline for such a project was, given regulatory hurdles and 36 plus miles of pipeline needed, more likely in the 5-year range. Considering the current prices for LNG and oil, and the improved availability of same from American resources within 5 plus years, only a fool determined to ignore the corruption of Big Wind and its cronies would opt for that false promise of “cheaper, greener, power.”

Plantation Maine, that’s us. The NIMBY’s in Connecticut and New York want the “green credits,” they just do not want to ruin their state’s landscape. Moreover, they have more money behind them than we do.

In a future column, which will require a chart to illustrate the tangled web of the players and their movable ethics, I will detail some of the examples demonstrating that many of Maine’s (and national, too) environmental groups have essentially sold out to Big Wind and Big Solar. Probably they’d call them palatable tradeoffs, or even good deals, because they believe they know better than the rest of us what our country should look like.

I’ll bet the citizens of Irasburg would beg to differ with that view.