New Documentary Illustrates Global Backlash Against Big Wind

Reading this, it occurred to me that some of the "CO2 trumps all" mainstream environmental groups are so addicted to their "ties" with the wind industry that their repeated lying is just like that of a junkie who must have his fix. When the wind industry dies, who will they cozy up to next?

Someone just sent me the following which I believe totally applies to the tired old environmental groups:


“Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.”
―  Eric Hoffer,   The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements


New Documentary Illustrates Global Backlash Against Big Wind 



Posted on Feb. 13, 2012

New Documentary Illustrates Global Backlash Against Big Wind

After years of successful marketing and lavish subsidies from taxpayers, the global wind industry now finds itself facing an unprecedented backlash. And that backlash – largely coming from rural landowners – combined with low natural gas prices, and a Congress unwilling to extend more subsidies, has left the American and Canadian wind sectors gasping for breath.

A new and thoughtful look at the fight against Big Wind is Laura Israel’s new film,Windfall, a documentary that focuses on the fight over the siting of wind turbines in the small town of Meredith, New York. Indeed, Israel’s film underscores an essential question: what, exactly, qualifies an energy source as “green” or “clean”? If you listen to President Obama, nearly every energy source qualifies as “clean” with the notable exception of oil.

For liberals here in the US, along with groups like the Center for American Progress, Greenpeace, Sierra Club, and Natural Resources Defense Council, wind energy has been deemed “clean” because it is renewable. But that belief requires a steadfast and prolonged decision to ignore a lot of inconvenient facts. It also requires the dismissal of rural residents like those in Meredith. Why? Well, the logic is obvious: any rural resident who opposes having a source of “clean” energy near their homes – never mind that it’s a 45-story-tall wind turbine that flashes red-blinking lights all night, every night -- must be a NIMBY, right?

Indeed, Windfall provides a good representation of the rural-urban divide on the wind-energy issue. Lots of city-based environmental groups and lobby organizations actively promote the concept of renewable energy. (It’s healthy! It’s green! No smokestacks!) But they are not the ones who have to endure the health-impairing noise that’s created by the turbines, nor do they have to see them.

Lest you think that NIMBY claim is only being uttered by brain-dead liberals and wind-energy lobbyists, consider this: last summer, Energy Secretary Steven Chu used that same smear. During a brief conversation with Chu about renewable energy, I mentioned the growing rural opposition to large-scale wind projects. Chu didn’t waste any time before he dismissed those objectors as “NIMBYs.”

That kind of lazy thinking – which is truly lamentable in a person who’s been awarded the Nobel Prize -- is all too typical. But a myriad of examples are available that demonstrate how the backlash against Big Wind is playing out both here in the US and around the world. Consider:

  • In 2010, the Copenhagen Post reported that “state-owned energy firm Dong Energy has given up building more wind turbines on Danish land, following protests from residents complaining about the noise the turbines make.”

  • Last May, some 1,500 protesters descended on the Welsh assembly, the Senedd, demanding that a massive wind project planned for central Wales be halted.

  • Last June, in the Australian state of Victoria, the government responded to two years’ of complaints about noise generated by turbines at the Waubra wind projectby announcing that it would enforce a two-kilometer (1.25-mile) setback between wind turbines and homes. The state’s planning minister said the setback was needed for health reasons. Australia’s mainstream media has paid serious attention to the turbine-noise issue, including a 2010 TV report by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that focused on the problems at Waubra.

  • Last July, Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal held an inquiry into a proposed a wind-energy facility known as the Kent Breeze Project. Although the officials allowed the facility to be built, they said:

    this case has successfully shown that the debate should not be simplified to one about whether wind turbines can cause harm to humans. The evidence presented to the Tribunal demonstrates that they can, if facilities are placed too close to residents. The debate has now evolved to one of degree.

  • In August, in a peer-reviewed article published in the Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society. Carl V. Phillips, a Harvard-trained Ph.D. who now works as a researcher and consultant on epidemiology, concluded that there is “overwhelming evidence that wind turbines cause serious health problems in nearby residents, usually stress-disorder type diseases, at a nontrivial rate.” That same issue of the journal carried eight other articles that addressed the issue of health and wind-turbine noise.

  • Last September, CBC News reported that Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment has logged “hundreds of health complaints” about the noise generated by the province’s growing fleet of wind turbines.

  • Alec Salt, a research scientist at the Cochlear Fluids Research Laboratory at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has written extensively about the health effects of wind-energy projects. He flatly concludes that wind turbines “can be hazardous to human health.”

  • In October, a peer-reviewed study of wind-turbine-related noise in New Zealand found that residents living within two kilometers of large wind projects reported:

    lower overall quality of life, physical quality of life, and environmental quality of life. Those exposed to turbine noise also reported significantly lower sleep quality, and rated their environment as less restful. Our data suggest that wind farm noise can negatively impact facets of health-related quality of life.

  • In October, Frank Lasee, a Republican state senator in Wisconsin, responding to complaints lodged by his constituents about noise generated by wind turbines that had been built near their homes, filed legislation that would require the state to investigate the health effects of the noise produced by industrial wind turbines. If passed, the bill -- the first of its kind in the U.S. -- will impose a moratorium on new wind projects until the study is completed.

  • On November 8, residents of Brooksville, Maine voted by more than 2 to 1 in favor of a measure that bans all wind turbines with towers exceeding 100 feet in height. On that same date, voters in Cushing, and Rumford, Maine passed similar measures. More than a dozen other towns in Maine now have anti-wind ordinances.

  • In December, government officials in the Australian state of New South Wales issued guidelines that give residents living within two kilometers of a proposed wind project the right to delay, or even stop, the project’s development. The issue: excessive noise created by wind turbines.

  • In January, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, the Canadian province’s biggest farm organization, said that the push for wind energy had “become untenable” and that “rural residents’ health and nuisance complaints must be immediately and fairly addressed.”

  • On Sunday, Sir Simon Jenkins, the chairman of the National Trust, one of Britain’s largest and oldest conservation groups, called wind energy a “public menace.” He went on saying “We are doing masses of renewables but wind is probably the least efficient and wrecks the countryside and the National Trust is about preserving the countryside.”

There’s no way that Israel could have anticipated today’s headlines. She did the filming for Windfall back in 2007 and 2008. But her portrayal of the bitter feuding that happened in the town of Meredith over wind-energy development is similar to fights that have occurred in numerous other rural communities around the world. The battle in Meredith (population: 1,500) pitted landowners who stood to profit by putting the wind turbines on their property against those who didn’t.

The landowner faction in Meredith was led by the town’s supervisor, Frank Bachler. Israel portrays him as a well-intentioned man who, in favoring the wind development, is trying to help the area’s struggling farmers. Bachler dismisses the opponents of the wind project as “a minority of people who are very aggressive.”

Bachler gets proven wrong. The anti-wind faction quickly gains momentum and the resulting battle provides a textbook example of small-town democracy. Three wind opponents run for election to the town board with the stated purpose of reversing the existing board’s position on wind. In November 2007, they win, and a few weeks later,pass a measure banning large-scale wind development.

Israel’s film also looks at the opposition outside of Meredith. In doing so, she provides a colorful interview with Carol Spinelli, a fiery real estate agent in Bovina, a town of about 600 people located a few miles southeast of Meredith. Bovina passed a ban on wind turbines in March 2007 (3). Spinelli helped lead the opposition and she nails the controversy over wind by explaining that it’s about “big money, big companies, big politics.” And she angrily denounces wind-energy developers “as modern-day carpetbaggers.”

That’s a brutal assessment. But it accurately portrays the rural-urban divide on the wind-energy issue. The Green/Left is desperate to portray the future of our energy mix as a fight between hydrocarbons and renewables. And in their desperation, they attempt to vilify anyone and everyone who dares to point out the myriad problems with renewables in general and wind energy in particular.

The American Wind Energy Association has denounced Windfall as offering “the greatest hits of misinformation.” And as is usual with AWEA, the group ignores the facts presented in the film and instead repeats its usual talking points about how the general public loves wind energy, i.e., “over 80% of Americans support wind power.”

On Saturday, the Natural Resources Defense Council published a critique of Windfall that reads like it was written by an AWEA lobbyist. The critique, written by NRDC staffer Pierre Bull, makes it clear that for NRDC, concerns about carbon dioxide emissions trump nearly every other concern, including, apparently, those of rural residents who don’t want the turbines. Bull’s piece even parrots AWEA’s claim that the low-frequency noise and infrasound created by wind turbines is not a problem by pointing to a report released in mid-January by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. That report largely dismisses complaints about wind-turbine noise. AWEA has repeatedly claimed, wrongly, that the Massachusetts report absolves the wind industry. And Bull claims it gives “wind a clean bill of health.” But the authors of the report did not interview any of the homeowners who’ve left their houses because of turbine noise. Instead, they did a cursory review of the published literature.

The rest is here.

Windfall Screenings Coming Up in Maine

Rangeley Public Library

7 Lake Street

Rangeley, ME  04970

Tuesday, February 21, 2012 -- 4:30 pm

 

Carrabassett Community Library

3209 Carrabassett Drive #3

Carrabassett Valley, ME  04947

Thursday, February 23, 2012 -- 7:00 pm

Begin Family Community Room

 

New Portland Community Room

River Road (adjacent to firehouse)

New Portland, ME  04961

Friday, February 24, 2012 -- 6:00 pm

 

Central Maine Community College

1250 Turner Street

Kirk Hall Building

Auburn, ME  04210

Monday, February 28, 2012 -- 6:00 pm

Lecture Hall

 

Unity College

Unity College Center for Performing Arts

42 Depot Street

Unity, ME  04988

Tuesday, February 28, 2012 -- 7:00 pm

 

Skowhegan Free Library

9 Elm Street

Skowhegan, ME  04976

Thursday, March 1, 2012 -- 6:00 pm

 

The Strand Theater

345 Main Street

Rockland, ME

Saturday, March 3, 2012 -- 2:00 pm

Sunday, March 4, 2012 -- 3:00 pm

Dirigo High School

145 Weld Street

Dixfield, ME  04224

Sunday, March 4, 2012 -- 2:00 pm

 


University of Maine Farmington

111 South Street

Farmington, ME  04938

Wednesday, March 7, 2012 -- 7:00 pm

Lincoln Auditorium

 

University of Maine Fort Kent

23 University Drive

Fort Kent, ME  04743

Wednesday, March 7, 2012 -- 6:00 pm

Nadeau Teleconference Room

 

Snowmobile Club

473 Houlton Road

Island Falls, ME  04747

Friday, March 30, 2012 -- 6:30 pm

 

Reel Pizza

33 Kennebec Place

Bar Harbor, ME  04609

Saturday, March 31, 2012 -- 1:30 pm

 

The Nickelodeon Theater

1 Temple Street

Portland, ME  04101

Thursday, April 5, 2012 -- TBD

More screenings and locations to be announced soon!


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Comment by Donna Amrita Davidge on February 22, 2012 at 12:09pm

We are having a screening in Island Falls if you want to drive up you are cordially invited..only a little more than an hour drive..

Comment by Donald Moore on February 22, 2012 at 10:58am
We need a screening in Bangor area please...UMO?
Comment by freemont tibbetts on February 21, 2012 at 5:41am

     Are the Selectmen of Dixfield Maine listening?????????????????????????????????????????????????????? .      Do they need a hearing aid???????????????????????????????????????. Freemont Tibbetts 37, Bruce Tibbetts dr. Dixfield Maine.    Tel. 562-7168.  

Comment by Donna Amrita Davidge on February 20, 2012 at 9:05pm

is BDN listening? they should..

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT (excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010  http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/From Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?"  http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-swept-task-force-set-the-rules/From Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.” http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/flaws-in-bill-like-skating-with-dull-skates/

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 -- Mahatma Gandhi

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