Energy planners, from the president through Ocean Energy Management and government agencies/public utilities, have again released massive swaths of the oceans and mountaintops to businesses. Unfortunately, for the money, little may be accomplished in promoting the public good. Their claim of electric power generation for hundreds of thousands of homes overshadows the purpose of wind turbine entitlement to reduce greenhouse gases (or GHG). They seem to forget that GHG reduction is needed so people will be able to breathe easier as well as temper nearby upstate mountains from the climate scourge.
Energy is needed to extract energy from the wind. This includes energy and resources lost or reduced in function, increasing GHG emission. Increased GHG and carbon footprint is also innate to turbine manufacture, materials acquisition, development, construction, installation, operation, maintenance, decommissioning and recovery. Energy used to generate this GHG and carbon footprint needs to be deducted from supply of consumer energy for accurate comparison.
The public should become wise to the wind turbine. The answer is blowing in the wind is not a muse but a ruse for getting these behemoths in place and finding out what happens too late. What is blowing is an ill wind for residents and windfalls for the turbine people.
State officials should stand up and put the issue to ballot; prohibit turbines in critical areas and challenge any claims of lost income from approvals previously granted; plan using natural resource inventory and habitat assessment; use National Environmental Policy Act standards required for environmental impact statements (EIS); establish offset compensation based on EIS and net GHG reduction.
Conservation of natural resources is a fair return to public goods, and for user compensation realistically includes an upstate mountain summer camp for children to escape the unhealthy air of the urban heat island.
These resources are held in the public trust as part of the people’s heritage. Officials should take care of them and not allow them to be wasted. People should ask their representatives to stand up for these resources.
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