Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Spinning in the Wind
A group of concerned Mainers gathered on Monday at Rollins Mountain in Lincoln. A violent storm had moved into the region overnight. It was cold, driving rain poured down… and it was windy.
I used to love the wind…
The Friends of Lincoln Lakes have fought a long and hard and expensive battle. Several weeks ago, they lost this fight—at least to outside eyes—and First Wind was given the ‘go ahead’ by Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection to start construction on their proposed project. Forty industrial wind turbines overshadowing the Land of Thirteen Lakes, and in the shadow of Mount Katahdin. And… for what?
Wind industry mouthpieces list off the negligible benefits and most Mainers… most Americans… heck! Most PEOPLE believe them! The industry claims economic benefits in the form of temporary construction jobs and increased sales for businesses in the ‘host’ communities. They tout the ‘free’ fuel of wind… while never mentioning the hugely expensive cost of building, maintaining and transmitting the power. Wind energy is anything but affordable, often costing up to three times more than conventional power sources. Wind industry execs state, shamelessly, that wind will reduce our dependence on foreign oil. They say it will bring American soldiers home. More falsehoods, but do most people question those statements?
To our detriment, we have been conditioned to believe that which is told us by people in positions of power or authority. Spin doctors know what buttons to push, what catch phrases to use… how to tweak the ‘fear’ nerve or the sympathetic heart strings. Corporate trainers work their recruits, teaching them how to answer questions with just enough factual information to be believable, while not divulging the complete TRUTH to the common citizen. I’ve listened to these prevarications and misleading statements for a solid year. The wind industry has it down to an art. It’s bull$hit, but it smells sweet. Wind industry trainees are even taught how to deal with people like me. You know… those thorns-in-their-sides, pains-in-their-asses who show up uninvited wherever they go; sitting in their meetings, asking pointed questions, demanding proof, asking them if they will put their claims in writing…. That kind of person. I’ve heard tell we even have a name. Folks like me are called “MADGE”.
I wonder what that means?
Below is an excerpt from the Portland Press Herald. It is a fine example of the ‘spin’ corporate executives glibly apply when the need arises.
“First Wind spokesman John Lamontagne called Monday’s protest unfortunate. “First Wind is pleased to move ahead with the Rollins Wind project and put people to work in northern Maine during a tough economy. It’s unfortunate a small group of renewable energy opponents have chosen to protest that, but we respect their rights to do so,” Lamontagne said in a statement.
“This project will put more than 200 people to work during construction, and generate enough clean, renewable power for more than 24,000 homes in Maine. We’re proud of that.”
First off: Wind turbines do not and never will produce their nameplate capacity because the wind simply does not blow steadily every day and night… 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Actual production levels vary from 11-33%. Those 24,000 homes that could be electrified number, in truth, anywhere from 2,600 to 8,000. That’s a significant difference, if you ask me.
Mr. Lamontagne, whose name means “the high mountains”, is currently involved in shaving the tops off ours. Blasting, excavating, bulldozing… whatever it takes to build the roads and clear the turbine sites on our iconic and pristine ridges. Notice his choice of words when describing those valiant Wind Warriors who stood outside in the driving rain to participate in their lawful right to peaceful assembly. He labeled the demonstrators as “renewable energy opponents”.
Perfect! Just what I would expect! If you want to sway citizens who have not yet been educated on the real truths surrounding the plan to decimate 360 miles of high terrain ridges in a state with a poor inland wind resource, that’s the ideal tag to put on people who are anything BUT opponents of renewable energy! The 'windys' are good at their jobs. I’ve got to give them that!
The thousands of Mainers who are fighting to stop mountaintop industrial wind are not opponents of renewable energy. We are opponents of waste, and stupidity. We are against corruption and greed. We oppose sending the lion’s share of our hard-earned tax dollars overseas to countries like China, where the wind turbine parts are manufactured. We don’t believe in sacrificing a quality of place which is precious and unique in order to line developers’ pockets with cash for a power source which is undependable and intermittent, which cannot be stored, and which is incompatible with our grid. We oppose the destruction of our mountains, the fragmenting of wildlife habitat, and the carelessness and uncaring attitude which has made many of our fellow Mainers sick and anxious and unhappy in their homes.
But… what are Wind Warriors for? We are for sensible and affordable energy practices which are proven by science and economics. We are in favor of conservation and efficiency. We are supporters of our neighbors, and champions of our natural resources. And we promote—and expect-- honesty and integrity when dealing with our government and those corporations who desire to do business in this state.
I wasn’t at the Lincoln rally on Monday, but my heart was with my fellow Wind Warriors. We’ll leave the ‘spin’ to the wind industry and the administration which has decided to allow them to pillage and despoil our land.
In the meantime, if you want the FACTS, please come see me and I’ll point you in the right direction. We are up against a Goliath, but we are armed with the truth. And here in Maine, where the brave are denounced and branded as ‘renewable energy opponents’, we will not back down. We will not give up. We will not be intimidated.
We will WIN!
Top Photo: demonstrators at Rollins Mountain, Lincoln, Maine
Middle Photo: New turbine pad under construction at Rollins, with Maine's highest mountain, Katahdin, in the background.
Bottom photo: A silly pic sent me by a friend in Mississippi
It's time for a contest! The Friends of the Highland Mountains are putting on a comedy and music event to raise money for our expert witness fees, which we will need when the time comes for our public hearing. Please given me your suggestions for what the acronym "MADGE" stands for... and the winner, chosen by the Turbinator, my friend Tom (if he says 'yes' when I ask him, which he will... won't you, Tom?)will win two tickets to the event on December 4th at 7:00. Come on... this wind stuff is CRAP! Let's turn it into some FUN!!! Just put your suggestions in the comments section. Winner will be chosen on November 27th. MADGE: Meddling And Dangerous Gigantic Environmentalist??? oooh... not as easy as I thought!!!