March 26, 2021
Nebraska, Opinions

Brewer at the Legislature: Worn-out wind turbine blades get dumped

By Sen. Tom Brewer | North Platte Bulletin | Mar. 26, 2021 |

I recently learned of a site in western Nebraska where the remains of obsolete wind turbines are being temporarily stored. This concerned me very much because I do not want any new landfill created in Nebraska for the disposal of wind turbine blades.

There are about 58,000 wind turbines in the U.S., according to the U.S. Wind Turbine Database. There are plans to build an additional 3,000 more wind turbines by the end of this year. Turbine blades need to be replaced as often as every 10 years, so the more wind turbines they build, the more this problem grows. It is estimated that over 8,000 old blades will be discarded every year around the United States.

This growing problem is compounded by the fact the number of landfills willing to accept them in neighboring states is decreasing. This is happening in Colorado. There is a bill in the Wyoming legislature that would prohibit state landfills from accepting the blades. New locations must be found, so this problem will find its way to Nebraska soon enough. I understand why the residents of Colorado and Wyoming feel this way, and I share the same concerns about having wind turbine landfills in Nebraska.

I know of no plan to dispose of or recycle obsolete wind turbine blades in an environmentally responsible way. Digging what amounts to a mass grave for old blades is the current process being used. This is totally unacceptable for Nebraska.

I believe it is dangerous and irresponsible to continue building wind turbines in Nebraska until suitable options for worn-out blades are found. The current policy of using landfills is short-sighted and reckless. I know of no scientific study on the effects caused by filtering rainwater through a landfill full of chopped up fiberglass. No one knows the impact this will have on our water quality. What about all the exotic epoxy resins and industrial-strength glue in these blades? Do we want this poison in the Ogallala Aquifer?

The public needs to be aware of this looming disaster. People have been fed the propaganda that wind energy is good for the environment. In reality, all it does is line the pockets of a handful of wind energy companies and a few landowners.

The rest of us are forced to deal with all the negative effects of wind energy. People forced to be neighbors to this public menace suffer a loss of property value. They suffer a sharp reduction in the quality of rural life. These massive industrial facilities slaughter wildlife including endangered species. The noise and vibration they cause makes some people sick. Wind energy cannot replace “base load” generation, and the recent cold snap and rolling blackouts gave us all a stark reminder of this fact.

On top of everything else, Nebraskans will soon face the question of having a potentially toxic waste dump so a few people can make money off of the wind energy scam. This is unacceptable. It reminds me of why counties need to have zoning that regulates wind energy, such as the bill I introduced, LB 424.

Wind turbine landfills should be outlawed in Nebraska.

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