Friday, July 30, 2010
Not Quite What I had in Mind...
This is not what I'd planned for my 100th posting to GAG. I wanted to write something 'fun', to celebrate my first 100 on-line articles. But GAG is about grumbles as much as it is about grins... and something just made me grumble, BIG TIME.
A few days ago I wrote a letter to the editor about the regularity in which the online comments of industrial wind opponents disappeared from the sites of several of this state's leading newspapers. The comments which were removed were always good ones, filled with the FACTS which-- if known by Mainers-- would cause some massive forced changes in Governor Baldacci's energy policies and goals.
But I didn't send it. After composing it, I read a letter to the editor which was written by someone who was against industrial wind and all its attendant negative impacts. The newspaper had printed it, which was encouraging given the paper's previous editorials and articles promoting "Big Wind". I hesitated. I decided to give the news media in Maine another chance to prove they were unbiased.
Besides... I figured I didn't stand much chance of seeing such a critical letter published, anyway.
Below, in italics, is another letter I wrote a few days ago. I've written dozens and dozens of these. Approximiately half of them have been printed. I emailed the letter to the Kennebec Journal, whose parent company also owns the Morning Sentinel in Waterville. Two days ago, the Sentinel called to confirm my identity, and so I had a feeling the letter might get published.
Apparently, it did. A friend emailed me a note, stating that a friend of HIS emailed him the link to the online version of the letter I wrote. But when that link was accessed, there was no letter. Instead, a little note popped up, that said: Sorry, the content of this story appears to be missing.
I've said it with increasing regularity. We are up against a state-sanctioned industry which is very powerful. When there are millions and even billions of dollars to be made, those who stand to lose that money will employ whatever means necessary to ensure that they retain control of public opinion.
I can't swear that my letter disappeared off the Morning Sentinel's site due to its anti-wind message. Just like I can't be sure that our best and most convincing online comments were removed because we spoke the truth in a reasonable and convincing manner. I can't swear, and I can't be sure...but I am an intelligent woman, and I've seen the writing on the wall. We average citizens who are taking a stand to oppose the development of our moutains have a huge task in front of us. We are at a disadvantage, but that simply means we have to dig our heels in and fight that much harder.
Somewhere out there is an ally. Somewhere there is an important person who will lend his or her name to our cause and help us defend this region, its inhabitants, a way of life, and even...our pocketbooks. Then maybe-- just maybe--we'll be on an even footing with the Wind Industry. When that day comes, we WILL win this effort. If we ever meet on a level playing field, we'll have the advantage. Because, we are armed with the FACTS about industrial wind.
In the Morning Sentinel (Waterville, ME) July 30, 2010
I speak with strangers every day. People who are unknown to me stop by my office and I have meaningful conversations with them. We might discuss the weather or the price of gasoline—something innocuous to break the ice—but it usually takes only a moment before I am learning about their families, their histories, their hopes and dreams.
Folks come to the western mountains of Maine because we offer something they can’t
get elsewhere. We are friendly and open and are good neighbors, yes. But it’s not only the citizens of Maine who attract visitors; our beautiful natural resources compel them to visit. Often, those same treasures induce them to stay.
Our Administration and Legislature have made a terrible mistake. They’ve paved the
way for Maine’s iconic mountains to be permanently altered in order for a misguided
plan to be implemented. Land-based industrial wind energy plants are not good for
the environment; not for the high-terrain eco-systems which would be ravaged, nor
for the earth’s atmosphere, despite the fact that proponents often cite wind turbines’ contribution to the reduction of greenhouse gasses. They are financially unfeasible, and are only made possible by huge tax-payer subsidies. They cause health problems for residents who live within two or more miles. The energy they produce is intermittent, unreliable--and isn’t needed in our state. We already export power, and that which these turbines produce will not stay in Maine.
Three hundred and sixty miles of turbines on our pristine ridges, and 500 miles of new, high voltage transmission lines to carry the power out-of-state--it simply doesn’t make sense. We already have what others long for. Why would we sacrifice this bounty for a plan so ill-conceived?
I speak with people every day, and I listen. They want what we’re lucky enough to