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NYTimes.com Article: Windmills Sow Dissent for Environmentalists

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  • cceenn@yahoo.com
    This article from NYTimes.com has been sent to you by cceenn@yahoo.com. I am send this text from the NY Times site. Sorry to those who have already read it
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 6, 2003
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      This article from NYTimes.com
      has been sent to you by cceenn@....


      I am send this text from the NY Times site. "Sorry" to those who have already read it or flagged me as spam.

      cceenn@...

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      Explore more of Starbucks at Starbucks.com.
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      Windmills Sow Dissent for Environmentalists

      June 5, 2003
      By KATHARINE Q. SEELYE






      THOMAS, W.Va. - Vincent Collins, a lawyer from nearby
      Morgantown, has been vacationing in this scenic area for 35
      years. A few years ago, he bought a 1.2-acre lot near here
      and planned to build a house on it. But once he saw the
      windmills, and learned of plans for more, he scrapped that
      dream.

      Soaring above the treetops are 44 sleek white steel
      cylinders, 228 feet high. Churning on each tower are three
      glinting fiberglass blades, 115 feet long. Like quills on a
      porcupine, they spike the emerald spine of Backbone
      Mountain for six miles along the Allegheny Front.

      They have also generated huge turbulence within the
      environmental movement. Proponents of wind farms view those
      who oppose them as heretics, obstructing the promise of
      clean renewable energy, while opponents decry them as
      producing insufficient power to warrant their blight on the
      landscape.

      For now, the wind farm here is the largest east of the
      Mississippi, but the wind-energy industry, long a staple of
      the California landscape, is blowing eastward. Unobstructed
      winds, favorable economics and the absence of local zoning
      laws are attracting developers, and soon more than 400
      turbines could be sprouting across 40 square miles of West
      Virginia's most scenic mountaintops.

      "I can't believe how large and hideous they are," Mr.
      Collins said. "When you hear the word `windmill,' you think
      Holland and Don Quixote. That's wrong. They look like alien
      monsters coming out of the ground."

      The growing industry has caused a kind of identity crisis
      among people who think of themselves as pro-environment,
      forcing them to choose between the promise of clean,
      endlessly renewable energy and the perils of imposing giant
      man-made structures on nature.

      To some environmentalists, the opposition to wind power
      from within their ranks not only stifles the growth of a
      new source of energy but also calls into question the
      integrity of the environmental movement itself.

      Charles Komanoff, a longtime economic consultant to
      environmental groups, said the opposition by "well-heeled
      environmentalists," stoked the preconception that they were
      more concerned about their own backyards than about the
      common good.

      "They want to have it all and they won't brook any
      trade-off, especially a trade-off that sacrifices their own
      comfort," said Mr. Komanoff, who is based in New York.

      At the same time, the wind farm developers appear to have
      the environmental high ground.

      "We believe in clean energy," said Steve Stingel, a
      spokesman for Florida Power and Light, which bought the
      rights to the wind farm here and then built it. The company
      is the largest generator of wind power in the United
      States, with 30 wind farms in 10 states.

      Wind now accounts for less than 1 percent of all
      electricity produced in the United States. But the American
      Wind Energy Association, the industry's trade group,
      predicts it will grow to 6 percent by 2020.

      The case for wind has been fortified in recent years by
      advances in technology that make it more efficient and a
      federal tax credit that makes its financing more feasible.

      But the reality for people like Mr. Collins is something
      else. Windmill farms must be large to be financially
      viable. Critics worry that beyond the blemish on the
      natural landscape, these industrial-sized towers can chop
      up migratory birds. One farm in California was dubbed the
      "condor Cuisinart," and the ornithologist monitoring the
      wind farm here just reported that at least two dozen song
      birds winging their way north had been killed.

      Another complaint is that wind farms can do little to
      reduce overall dependence on fossil fuels, because of the
      unreliability of constant wind and the inability to store
      its power.

      "They put out such a minuscule amount of electricity," Mr.
      Collins said. "It's nuts."

      Similar complaints, coming from prominent environmentalists
      like Robert F. Kennedy Jr., have stalled installation of
      the nation's first off-shore wind farm, proposed for the
      waters of Nantucket Sound off Cape Cod. And they have
      forced the Long Island Power Authority to scrap its plan
      for wind turbines off the eastern tip of Long Island. But
      the utility has now proposed putting up to 50 turbines,
      each 488 feet high, off Long Island's south shore between
      Fire Island and Jones Beach, two immensely popular summer
      resort areas.

      Mr. Kennedy, for one, said he found "zero" irony in the
      fact that he had devoted himself to environmental advocacy
      and yet opposed the wind project on Cape Cod, his Kennedy
      grandparents' summer home.

      "There are appropriate places for everything," he said in a
      telephone interview. "You would not want a wind farm in
      Yosemite, and you wouldn't want one in Central Park."

      Mr. Kennedy added: "I love wind energy, but let's develop
      some rules about how you divide up the commons. You're
      essentially giving the commons over to a profit-making
      enterprise."

      It is not only homeowners with nice views who object to
      wind farms, but business owners as well. Indeed, it was
      Wayne Kurker, owner of the Hyannis Marina, who first
      notified Mr. Kennedy about the proposed project in
      Nantucket Sound.

      "I didn't like the idea that what we consider our Grand
      Canyon was all of a sudden going to be industrialized," Mr.
      Kurker said of the wind farm, which would consist of 130
      turbines over 24 square miles.

      Mr. Kurker founded the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound
      and has been joined by scores of local politicians,
      chambers of commerce worried about the effect on tourism,
      and celebrities like Walter Cronkite in opposition to the
      project.

      The main reason wind is taking off now is the huge
      financial incentive provided by government subsidies. While
      critics argue that these subsidies are only making
      developers rich, supporters say they are peanuts compared
      with subsidies for fossil fuels and they provide
      much-needed revenue to ailing rural economies while also
      delivering clean energy.

      The main subsidy is the federal tax credit, which is set to
      expire at the end of the year but is likely to be renewed
      by Congress. The credit allows windmill companies to deduct
      1.8 cents from their tax liability for every kilowatt hour
      they produce for 10 years. The savings are huge.

      For example, Jerome Niessen, president of NedPower, which
      has received permission from the West Virginia Public
      Service Commission for a 200-turbine wind farm near here in
      Grant County, said he expected to generate 800 million
      kilowatt hours per year, for a tax savings of $16 million a
      year for 10 years, or $160 million - on a wind farm that
      will cost $300 million to build.

      NedPower is to pay $500,000 in local taxes, making it the
      fifth-largest taxpayer in the county. (That is far less,
      however, than the $3 million the company would have paid
      just two years ago, before wind energy lobbyists persuaded
      the government to tax towers and turbines at a lower rate.)
      The company has also developed a public-private partnership
      with two local schools, which will earn royalties from the
      wind farm of about $75,000 a year.

      The company will pay local landowners $2,000 to $4,000 an
      acre to lease the necessary 8,000 acres for the towers. And
      putting up the towers, which will rise 330 feet high and
      extend across 10 to 12 miles of mountain ridges, will
      provide 200 construction jobs for a year and 15 permanent
      technician jobs.

      "Fifteen jobs might not sound like much," Mr. Niessen said.
      "But if one coal mine after another has closed and if
      another chicken-processing plant has closed, 15 jobs is a
      lot."

      http://www.nytimes.com/2003/06/05/national/05WIND.html?ex=1055903825&ei=1&en=21873178aec9d8dc


      ---------------------------------

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      Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company
    • Randy Scott
      I ll bet those whining cry-babys have never seen Pasadena Texas. The people who live there have exploding refineries & chemical plants in their backyards.
      Message 2 of 2 , Jun 20, 2003
      • 0 Attachment
        I'll bet those whining cry-babys have never seen Pasadena Texas.
        The people who live there have exploding refineries & chemical plants
        in their backyards. [Literally "exploding" - twice in the last 2
        weeks - typically only once a year] I would rather have the windmills
        than a coal-fired power plant.

        In fact, you guys should be praying for me to win the lottery - if
        (when) I get my hands on all that dough I intend to buy a big piece
        of land in WTex and cover it with solar panels.

        RMS


        --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, cceenn@y... wrote:
        > This article from NYTimes.com
        > has been sent to you by cceenn@y...
        >
        >
        > I am send this text from the NY Times site. "Sorry" to those who
        have already read it or flagged me as spam.
        >
        > cceenn@y...
        >
        > /-------------------- advertisement -----------------------\
        >
        > Explore more of Starbucks at Starbucks.com.
        > http://www.starbucks.com/default.asp?ci=1015
        > \----------------------------------------------------------/
        >
        > Windmills Sow Dissent for Environmentalists
        >
        > June 5, 2003
        > By KATHARINE Q. SEELYE
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > THOMAS, W.Va. - Vincent Collins, a lawyer from nearby
        > Morgantown, has been vacationing in this scenic area for 35
        > years. A few years ago, he bought a 1.2-acre lot near here
        > and planned to build a house on it. But once he saw the
        > windmills, and learned of plans for more, he scrapped that
        > dream.
        >
        > Soaring above the treetops are 44 sleek white steel
        > cylinders, 228 feet high. Churning on each tower are three
        > glinting fiberglass blades, 115 feet long. Like quills on a
        > porcupine, they spike the emerald spine of Backbone
        > Mountain for six miles along the Allegheny Front.
        >
        > They have also generated huge turbulence within the
        > environmental movement. Proponents of wind farms view those
        > who oppose them as heretics, obstructing the promise of
        > clean renewable energy, while opponents decry them as
        > producing insufficient power to warrant their blight on the
        > landscape.
        >
        > For now, the wind farm here is the largest east of the
        > Mississippi, but the wind-energy industry, long a staple of
        > the California landscape, is blowing eastward. Unobstructed
        > winds, favorable economics and the absence of local zoning
        > laws are attracting developers, and soon more than 400
        > turbines could be sprouting across 40 square miles of West
        > Virginia's most scenic mountaintops.
        >
        > "I can't believe how large and hideous they are," Mr.
        > Collins said. "When you hear the word `windmill,' you think
        > Holland and Don Quixote. That's wrong. They look like alien
        > monsters coming out of the ground."
        >
        > The growing industry has caused a kind of identity crisis
        > among people who think of themselves as pro-environment,
        > forcing them to choose between the promise of clean,
        > endlessly renewable energy and the perils of imposing giant
        > man-made structures on nature.
        >
        > To some environmentalists, the opposition to wind power
        > from within their ranks not only stifles the growth of a
        > new source of energy but also calls into question the
        > integrity of the environmental movement itself.
        >
        > Charles Komanoff, a longtime economic consultant to
        > environmental groups, said the opposition by "well-heeled
        > environmentalists," stoked the preconception that they were
        > more concerned about their own backyards than about the
        > common good.
        >
        > "They want to have it all and they won't brook any
        > trade-off, especially a trade-off that sacrifices their own
        > comfort," said Mr. Komanoff, who is based in New York.
        >
        > At the same time, the wind farm developers appear to have
        > the environmental high ground.
        >
        > "We believe in clean energy," said Steve Stingel, a
        > spokesman for Florida Power and Light, which bought the
        > rights to the wind farm here and then built it. The company
        > is the largest generator of wind power in the United
        > States, with 30 wind farms in 10 states.
        >
        > Wind now accounts for less than 1 percent of all
        > electricity produced in the United States. But the American
        > Wind Energy Association, the industry's trade group,
        > predicts it will grow to 6 percent by 2020.
        >
        > The case for wind has been fortified in recent years by
        > advances in technology that make it more efficient and a
        > federal tax credit that makes its financing more feasible.
        >
        > But the reality for people like Mr. Collins is something
        > else. Windmill farms must be large to be financially
        > viable. Critics worry that beyond the blemish on the
        > natural landscape, these industrial-sized towers can chop
        > up migratory birds. One farm in California was dubbed the
        > "condor Cuisinart," and the ornithologist monitoring the
        > wind farm here just reported that at least two dozen song
        > birds winging their way north had been killed.
        >
        > Another complaint is that wind farms can do little to
        > reduce overall dependence on fossil fuels, because of the
        > unreliability of constant wind and the inability to store
        > its power.
        >
        > "They put out such a minuscule amount of electricity," Mr.
        > Collins said. "It's nuts."
        >
        > Similar complaints, coming from prominent environmentalists
        > like Robert F. Kennedy Jr., have stalled installation of
        > the nation's first off-shore wind farm, proposed for the
        > waters of Nantucket Sound off Cape Cod. And they have
        > forced the Long Island Power Authority to scrap its plan
        > for wind turbines off the eastern tip of Long Island. But
        > the utility has now proposed putting up to 50 turbines,
        > each 488 feet high, off Long Island's south shore between
        > Fire Island and Jones Beach, two immensely popular summer
        > resort areas.
        >
        > Mr. Kennedy, for one, said he found "zero" irony in the
        > fact that he had devoted himself to environmental advocacy
        > and yet opposed the wind project on Cape Cod, his Kennedy
        > grandparents' summer home.
        >
        > "There are appropriate places for everything," he said in a
        > telephone interview. "You would not want a wind farm in
        > Yosemite, and you wouldn't want one in Central Park."
        >
        > Mr. Kennedy added: "I love wind energy, but let's develop
        > some rules about how you divide up the commons. You're
        > essentially giving the commons over to a profit-making
        > enterprise."
        >
        > It is not only homeowners with nice views who object to
        > wind farms, but business owners as well. Indeed, it was
        > Wayne Kurker, owner of the Hyannis Marina, who first
        > notified Mr. Kennedy about the proposed project in
        > Nantucket Sound.
        >
        > "I didn't like the idea that what we consider our Grand
        > Canyon was all of a sudden going to be industrialized," Mr.
        > Kurker said of the wind farm, which would consist of 130
        > turbines over 24 square miles.
        >
        > Mr. Kurker founded the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound
        > and has been joined by scores of local politicians,
        > chambers of commerce worried about the effect on tourism,
        > and celebrities like Walter Cronkite in opposition to the
        > project.
        >
        > The main reason wind is taking off now is the huge
        > financial incentive provided by government subsidies. While
        > critics argue that these subsidies are only making
        > developers rich, supporters say they are peanuts compared
        > with subsidies for fossil fuels and they provide
        > much-needed revenue to ailing rural economies while also
        > delivering clean energy.
        >
        > The main subsidy is the federal tax credit, which is set to
        > expire at the end of the year but is likely to be renewed
        > by Congress. The credit allows windmill companies to deduct
        > 1.8 cents from their tax liability for every kilowatt hour
        > they produce for 10 years. The savings are huge.
        >
        > For example, Jerome Niessen, president of NedPower, which
        > has received permission from the West Virginia Public
        > Service Commission for a 200-turbine wind farm near here in
        > Grant County, said he expected to generate 800 million
        > kilowatt hours per year, for a tax savings of $16 million a
        > year for 10 years, or $160 million - on a wind farm that
        > will cost $300 million to build.
        >
        > NedPower is to pay $500,000 in local taxes, making it the
        > fifth-largest taxpayer in the county. (That is far less,
        > however, than the $3 million the company would have paid
        > just two years ago, before wind energy lobbyists persuaded
        > the government to tax towers and turbines at a lower rate.)
        > The company has also developed a public-private partnership
        > with two local schools, which will earn royalties from the
        > wind farm of about $75,000 a year.
        >
        > The company will pay local landowners $2,000 to $4,000 an
        > acre to lease the necessary 8,000 acres for the towers. And
        > putting up the towers, which will rise 330 feet high and
        > extend across 10 to 12 miles of mountain ridges, will
        > provide 200 construction jobs for a year and 15 permanent
        > technician jobs.
        >
        > "Fifteen jobs might not sound like much," Mr. Niessen said.
        > "But if one coal mine after another has closed and if
        > another chicken-processing plant has closed, 15 jobs is a
        > lot."
        >
        > http://www.nytimes.com/2003/06/05/national/05WIND.html?
        ex=1055903825&ei=1&en=21873178aec9d8dc
        >
        >
        > ---------------------------------
        >
        > Get Home Delivery of The New York Times Newspaper. Imagine
        > reading The New York Times any time & anywhere you like!
        > Leisurely catch up on events & expand your horizons. Enjoy
        > now for 50% off Home Delivery! Click here:
        >
        > http://www.nytimes.com/ads/nytcirc/index.html
        >
        >
        >
        > HOW TO ADVERTISE
        > ---------------------------------
        > For information on advertising in e-mail newsletters
        > or other creative advertising opportunities with The
        > New York Times on the Web, please contact
        > onlinesales@n... or visit our online media
        > kit at http://www.nytimes.com/adinfo
        >
        > For general information about NYTimes.com, write to
        > help@n...
        >
        > Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company
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