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Kolesar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-30-07 06:02 AM
Original message
There is a fair issue about protecting the Indiana Bat in the Allegheny Highlands. I think that coal-state Rep. Nick Rahall is taking this too far, though. -- TheBorealAvenger


Wind Group Condemns Unprecedented Effort to Strangle Clean Energy
and Subvert Key Part of Global Warming Solution

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) today sharply criticized a provision in a new bill introduced by Chairman Nick Rahall (D-WV) in the House Natural Resources Committee that the group said would essentially outlaw the generation of electricity from new wind power plants in the United States and even phase out power production from existing wind turbines.

The provision, Subtitle D of H.R. 2337, would:

Bar any new wind power project until new Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) rules are issued a process likely to take years and require FWS certification of every turbine
Require all existing turbines, even small residential units, to cease operating 6 months after issuance of new FWS rules until they are certified, an unwieldy bureaucratic process applying to many thousands of turbines that, again, will take years
Make it a crime, punishable by a $50,000 fine or a year in jail, to construct or generate electricity from an unapproved turbine, even for home use
Undermine state and federal efforts to promote renewable electricity generation and subvert the growing movement to reduce global warming pollution
Create an unworkable bureaucracy that will delay clean, emissions-free wind energy projects throughout the U.S.
The legislative proposal follows on the heels of a May 3 report from the National Academy of Sciences that states, among other things, that Clearly, bird deaths caused by wind turbines are a minute fraction of . . . total anthropogenic bird deaths less than 0.003% in 2003. And the wind industry is already helping to fund groundbreaking collaborative research programs on bats and grassland birds to develop a knowledge base that would allow intelligent and effective conservation measures. Existing evidence suggests that fossil fuel-fired electricity generation, not covered by H.R. 2337s requirements, has far greater wildlife impacts.

Commented Gregory Wetstone, AWEA Senior Director of Government and Public Affairs, Wind energy requires no mining or drilling for fuel, no fuel transportation, no hazardous waste disposal, and no water use; and wind energy generates electricity without toxic pollutants like mercury, without greenhouse pollution, and of course without the conventional pollutants that cause smog and acid rain. Is this really an energy sector Congress should close down, for environmental reasons?

Wind power is an essential element of the climate change solution. Further increasing the percentage of electricity wind produces in America will provide much needed price stability, generate tens of millions of dollars in revenue for farmers and rural communities, and create tens of thousands of jobs. We should be looking for ways to accelerate wind energys growth rather than putting roadblocks in its path.

See testimony by AWEA Senior Director of Government and Public Affairs Greg Wetstone here.

See list of state guidelines and environmental reviews for wind energy projects here.

AWEA, formed in 1974, is the national trade association of the U.S. wind energy industry. The association's membership includes turbine manufacturers, wind project developers, utilities, academicians, and interested individuals. More information on wind energy is available at the AWEA web site: .
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Dogmudgeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-30-07 06:11 AM
Response to Original message
1. More coal-country politicking
The only forms of power generation that are not messed with by political dilettantism are the dirtiest ones -- fossil fuel combustion.

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pokerfan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-30-07 06:40 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. All I needed to read
was (D-WV). Could just have easily been (R-WV).

All politics is local.

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Dogmudgeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-31-07 08:24 AM
Response to Reply #3
9. They're desperate folks. But they rate our attention.
West Virginia is rich in natural and human resources, but poor in financial wealth and reputation -- undeservedly. It has long been the red-headed stepchild of the Northeast, the South, and the Midwest. The elites of none of those regions want them as their own. Northerners scorn them as Hillbillies. They are not quite midwestern enough to be Midwesterners. They are Southerners who allied with the Union, though the prejudice against people from that area reaches back 400 years to the English/Irish-Scottish conflicts.

But ... sabotaging energy development is NOT the way to do it. Wind power is poorly- or non-workable in many places, but West Virginia is one of better places for using the wind. In addition, the eastern hillsides are as suited to catching the sun's light as the western slopes are for catching the prevailing winds, and there is plenty of water for hydroelectric generation as well as cooling nuclear reactors, with extensive and stable cave systems for storing spent fuel until we legalize recycling.

And, the social and economic networks that James Kunstler and other relocalizers talk about are largely intact in WV. Suburbanization has not affected the area quite as badly. If there is a powerdown-related series of socioeconomic crashes, West Virginia will fare better than many places.

This is an excellent opportunity for the Democrats to motivate our West Virginian brethren to get their heads out of their asses with some prime pork dedicated to developing education, technology, infrastructure, and energy modernization. Not only would it pay political dividends, it would jump-start a new area of economic development in the Appalachians well north of the Piedmont.

West Virginia is a wonderful place. It seriously deserves a chance.

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greenman3610 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-30-07 06:30 AM
Response to Original message
2. perfect cynicism
using environmental law to destroy the environment.
This rep is a dem, by the way.

for perspective, the dangers to birds from buildings, house cats, and West Nile
outweigh wind by thousands of times:

In the United States in 2003, wind generators accounted for only three-thousandths of 1 percent of bird killings -- no more than 37,000 birds. That same year, possibly as many as a billion birds died in collisions with buildings, and electrical power lines may have accounted for more than a billion more deaths, the report said. And domestic cats were responsible for the demise of an estimated hundreds of millions of songbirds and other species every year.
That aside, the report expressed concern about possible impacts from wind turbines on local bird populations, especially peregrine falcons and other raptors that are attracted to windy areas where the generators are likely to exist, and called for additional study. Raptors "are lower in abundance than many other bird species, have symbolic and emotional value to many Americans, and are protected by federal and state laws," the report noted.
The scientists' biggest concern was reserved for bats.
Recent analysis of bat kills amidst wind stations in the middle Atlantic states revealed more victims than were expected. The species impact could be significant partly because of an unrelated "decline in the populations of several species of bats in the eastern United States," the report said.
In the eastern United States, up to 41 bats are killed annually for every megawatt of wind energy generated along forested ridge tops, the report said. In Midwestern and Western states, the number is lower, no more than 9 dead bats per megawatt.

It takes 30-plus turbines to reach a kill rate of one bird per year, according to a recent report by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences on the environmental impacts of wind-energy projects, based on 14 studies they felt superlative. A number of caveats were attached to the figure, however, including the acknowledgment that rates can vary by site and that endangered species such as the bald eagle are particularly worth avoiding.

However you look at it, though, birds in the United States seem to die in turbine blades at a rate no higher than 40,000 a year. Deaths by dastardly domestic felines, on the other hand, number in the "hundreds of millions."

---- /
Uncertainty surrounding wind power's impact on wildlife--particularly the potential for deadly collisions between birds and turbines--has tarnished its image and even delayed some wind farms. Indeed, the first large offshore wind farm proposed for U.S. waters--the Cape Wind project in Massachusetts's Nantucket Sound--has been held up in part by concerns that its 130 turbines could kill thousands of seabirds annually. Now a simple infrared collision-detection system developed by Denmark's National Environmental Research Institute is helping clear the air.

The Thermal Animal Detection System (TADS) is essentially a heat-activated infrared video camera that watches a wind turbine around the clock, recording deadly collisions much as a security camera captures crimes. The first results, released this winter as part of a comprehensive $15 million study of Denmark's large offshore wind farms, show seabirds to be remarkably adept at avoiding offshore installations. "There had been suggestions that enormous numbers of birds would be killed," says Robert Furness, a seabird specialist at the University of Glasgow, who chaired the study's scientific advisory panel. "There's a greater feeling now among European politicians that marine wind farms are not going to be a major ecological problem, and therefore going ahead with construction is not going to raise lots of political difficulties."
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skids Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-30-07 07:33 AM
Response to Original message
4. Last hearing was the 23rd. Next is the 6th I think.

2337 is due to undergo "markup" in the committee on June 6th, according to one critter's calendar. If you have a critter on the natural resources committee be sure to give him a call before then.

See this useful dkos diary for links:
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Javaman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-30-07 11:11 AM
Response to Original message
5. Break like the wind. nt
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Kurovski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-30-07 11:16 PM
Response to Original message
6. K&R. (nt)
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OneBlueSky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-31-07 02:31 AM
Response to Original message
7. it just gets stupider, and stupider, and stupider . . . where will it end? . . . n/t
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NNadir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-31-07 05:57 AM
Response to Original message
8. Why not get Governor Hydrogen Hummer to relabel it a "Brazillion Windmills Law?"
That worked in California.
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MiniMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-31-07 09:42 PM
Response to Original message
10. There is a simple solution to this
Just harness all of the hot air coming out of congress. That big wind would produce a lot of energy.
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