The political friends of industrial wind hamper state and federal agencies.

An article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette provides another example of ill-prepared and vote driven politicians ignoring advice offered by state and federal agencies.  The opening statement in article titled “Somerset wind turbines seen as aviation hazard” declares, “The Federal Aviation Administration says that half of the 30 windmills proposed by Gamesa Energy USA for a controversial wind power project on an ecologically sensitive ridge area in Somerset County are a hazard to aviation.”

Think that matters?  Check out the next paragraph:  “Opponents of the wind turbine project hope the FAA’s preliminary finding will shut it down, but FAA officials say even a final determination would not stop the development.”

Why would the FAA let this happen?  “It should be the end of the project, but I think Gamesa will call in some of its political clout to get the FAA to back off,” said Jack Buchan, a member of Sensible Wind Solutions, which opposes the development.”

But Mr. Buchan is probably some NIMBY wack job concerned that “The project would be located in the watershed of two of the state’s highest quality trout streams and along the Allegheny Front ridge, a major bird and bat migratory route, of Shaffer Mountain in the northeastern part of the county.”  You know how those crazy folks trying to protect the environment get carried away sometimes, and after all, if the wind actually does spin one of these tinker toys at exactly the right time, the grid might be able to accommodate the burp and fire up a table lamp in Philadelphia!

So, what about the whole FAA and potential for aviation danger thing?  You know these FAA folks have some real clout and, after all, “The FAA said that 15 of the 404-foot-tall wind turbines exceed “obstruction standards and/or would have an adverse physical or electromagnetic interference effect” on the airspace above ridge or nearby airports and flight routes.”

Pennsylvania is not alone.  No state in the Appalachians seems to have a handle on this renewable energy juggernaut.  Weakened regulators controlled or ignored by misguided legislators, who themselves are persuaded by the heavily funded lobbyists to give preference to the taxpayer subsidized renewable energy industry, is not my idea of the ideal formula necessary to produce a good outcome for the citizens.  As Jon Boone put it so well when asked about the industrial wind’s “adaptive management” strategy to mitigate environmental concerns, “who is really going to shut down a plant that costs hundreds of millions of dollars? No one. And who is even going to monitor bird or bat mortality? On private lands? In remote mountain habitat? Why, ah, the wind developer…. People who believe this twaddle about “responsible enforcement” remain clueless about these realities. As I’ve said many times, recommending siting guidelines for wind is akin to giving a second story burglary ring a ladder and an alibi.”  Seems to me that one day, someone will be needing an alibi!
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