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Tilting At Windmills 651

GreedyCapitalist writes "Anne Applebaum writes in the Washington Post about environmentalists who are opposing renewable energy sources." From the article: "Already, activists and real estate developers have stalled projects across Pennsylvania, West Virginia and New York. In Western Maryland, a proposal to build wind turbines alongside a coal mine, on a heavily logged mountaintop next to a transmission line, has just been nixed by state officials who called it too environmentally damaging. Along the coast of Nantucket, Mass. -- the only sufficiently shallow spot on the New England coast -- a coalition of anti-wind groups and summer homeowners, among them the Kennedy family, also seems set to block Cape Wind, a planned offshore wind farm. Their well-funded lobbying last month won them the attentions of Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), who, though normally an advocate of a state's right to its own resources, has made an exception for Massachusetts and helped pass an amendment designed to kill the project altogether."
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Tilting At Windmills

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  • Too True (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <{akaimbatman} {at} {}> on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:39PM (#15176875) Homepage Journal
    The problem plaguing new energy developments is no longer NIMBYism, the "Not-In-My-Back-Yard" movement. The problem now, as one wind-power executive puts it, is BANANAism: "Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything."

    If it wasn't so true, it would be hilarious. Instead, we're currently faced with a no-win scenario. Don't want Power Plant technology X in your back yard? Fine, we'll move it to the middle of the desert. You don't like that because there's a fault there that *might* cause a teeny Earthquake 500 years from now? Fine, we'll move it to the swamp land. What's that? We'd be destroying the natural habitat of mosquitoes? Why do you want to keep mosquitoes around? FINE! Then we'll move it to the ocean where we can... what? You don't want it there, EITHER? Why the hell not? Because it might damage a coral reef? What if we build an artifical one? That will change the ocean currents?

    NNNGNGGNNGGGG!! HUMANS #$!@@!# CHANGE #@$!#!@! THINGS !@#!#!!!! IT'S !@#!@# WHAT @!#@!# WE @#$!@#$ DO!

    Call us when you don't have power and really, really want some. Good-bye! :-P
    • Re:Too True (Score:4, Insightful)

      by robertjw ( 728654 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:46PM (#15176929) Homepage
      Call us when you don't have power and really, really want some. Good-bye! :-P

      Except it doesn't work that way. The 10 people that bitched about the environment stop the millions from getting power. Those 10 people probably moved somewhere where there was power - so they could bitch about it again, leaving the millions to suffer.
      • Re:Too True (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ConceptJunkie ( 24823 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:56PM (#15177030) Homepage Journal
        Which is why we need to tell those 10 people to go to Hell and build some damn power plants!

        Really, there is a small but significant subset of environmentalists that literally wouldn't be happy until humans are extinct. We need to ignore those people and try to inject some common sense into our environmental discussions.

        Inability to compromise at all is what defines a zealot.

        • Re:Too True (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Enigma_Man ( 756516 )

          Unfortunately, those 10 people have enough money to buy 100 government officials, while none of the other 1,000,000 people have enough money individually (and don't pool their resources to buy officials, because hey, the government is for the people, right... right?)

          • Re:Too True (Score:5, Insightful)

            by jadavis ( 473492 ) on Saturday April 22, 2006 @04:29AM (#15179608)
            The way "environmentalists" get that much money is because there is usually some business interest behind it. The more regulations there are, and the more hoops people have to jump through to get work done, the worse for small business and the better for large business. Most people miss the last point, that large businesses and government go quite well together. And an environmental issue is an easy way for the large businesses to summon the powers of government to do their bidding.
        • Re:Too True (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Rei ( 128717 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @05:17PM (#15177222) Homepage
          I think you'll find that, by far, the vast majority of the people in these anti-wind groups have never been involved in any other "environmental" movement. There are some, yes, but not very many. For the most part, these groups are comprised of rich folk not wanting their property values to drop, people who don't give a whit about the environment but want the view to be "pretty" by their standards, and general technophobes (boy, you wouldn't believe some of the wacky things they say - calling them "moonbats" would be an insult to any future lunar aerial mammal community).

          These groups take on an environmental mantle because it sounds a lot better than the other arguments they'd be making - namely, "My million dollar estate will lose 10% of its value", "Uck, something white that spins!", and "Wind farms cause women to have five periods a month and give them brain cancer." Real environmental groups (for example, the Sierra Club) love wind farms [].

          It's annoying to see people on sites like slashdot buy into the "oooh, all those nutty environmentalists keep contradicting themselves! They must just want to destroy society!" arguments.
          • "Wind farms cause women to have five periods a month and give them brain cancer."

            Jeez, that sounds scary! :O And the brain cancer too.
          • Re:Too True (Score:5, Interesting)

            by einhverfr ( 238914 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `srevart.sirhc'> on Friday April 21, 2006 @05:53PM (#15177555) Homepage Journal
            In my backyard we have some wind mills. Well, figuratively speaking (they are in the backyards of friends of mine, actually and within maybe 15 miles). In my state, Wind power is taking off. There has been some controversy exactly as you describe from the "I built my house here and don't want to see your windmills" crowd, but all and all this has not been a huge concern.

            What is driving the projects here in Washington State has been a set of deals with local farmers to rent space on farmland for the windmills. The farmer then gets a percentage of the proceeds (and is thus farming wind), and the power company (usually a county PUD) gets the space for the windmills. Works out well for everyone.

            Now, it is true that there are some environmental hazards of windmills, regarding migrating birds, and the like. However, these are small in comparison to the problems of coal, nuclear, and even hydroelectic on the scale that it has been implemented in our state. Wind is a good option if approached well and built up in moderation.
            • Re:Too True (Score:5, Interesting)

              by iamlucky13 ( 795185 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @06:31PM (#15177822)
              There has been some controversy exactly as you describe from the "I built my house here and don't want to see your windmills" crowd, but all and all this has not been a huge concern.
              Nor should it be a concern. It's private property. This isn't even an emminent domain debate. These people should go take a long walk off a short pier...preferrably over a volcano. These are the same type of people who sue their neighbors for painting their house the wrong color and messing up the community's feng shui, which literally happened in my sister's neighborhood. Some people aren't happy unless they have something to be unhappy about.

              Noise is a concern to people who have seen the California wind turbines from the 70's in operation. The lower RPM's, improved blade design, and increased tower clearance make the new, larger designs much quieter. I think it's almost eery how quiet they are.

              Birds are a pretty minor concern as well. Some people like to point to a valley in California where the hawk population decreased by 90% after the turbines were installed. That was one exceptional region, and the newer designs are also better in that regards. The newer 1.5 MW turbines are huge! The blades typically clear the ground by about 50 meters and the birds generally below the swept area. The lower RPM's also give them more time to dodge the blades if they do get the crazy notion to fly through the swept area.

              By the way, I have a bone to pick with you about your turbines over there in eastern Washington. One of your boys got dropped in the middle of our freeways here in Portland last fall. Really messed up traffic to have a 100 ton generator sitting in the road. If that ain't proof that wind power is evil, I don't know what is.
              • Re:Too True (Score:3, Interesting)

                by einhverfr ( 238914 )
                The basic problem is that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Every form of energy has its environmental cost somewhere down the line. There might be forms of energy which have a localized net benefit (methane from farm manure) but the entire process in these cases is usually has a net negative impact.

                Wind, as I say, is a good option in many ways. And with new technology it is getting better. However, I will say that we may never be fully aware of what the environmental costs will be, so it is best
                • Re:Too True (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by mrchaotica ( 681592 )
                  What I cannot say is whether Wind will still seem to be the same great source that it appears today if it was massively implemented.
                  Even if it were massively implemented, I still doubt that it would have more of a detrimental effect than all the air pollution (and particularly greenhouse gases) spewing out of all our coal-fired plants has!
            • Re:Too True (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Guysmiley777 ( 880063 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @06:48PM (#15177932)
              The "ZOMG IT KILLZ TEH BIRDZ" argument is nothing but alarmist. In small, high speed VAWT (vertical axis wind turbines) there has been some danger of slicing and dicing. In the big megawatt class "traditional" HAWTs (horizontal axis) it is negligible. Birds kill themselves flying into windows yet you don't see tree-huggers wailing about that. One reason the larger turbines are safer is while the rotational velocity of the blades can be significant, they are very large and birds can actually see them coming and avoid them. And on a 3 bladed turbine there is a LOT of empty air between the blades. 3 blades also turns out to be the most desirable, having an even number can lead to funky sympathetic oscillations, and any more than 4 and the blades end up in the wake of the blade before it.

              The "enviromentalists" that are against wind and solar power on account of asthetics piss me off. If we can't get energy from wind or solar because they don't look pretty and we can't get energy from fossil fuels because of CO2 and other emissions and nuclear power makes baby Jesus cry, then where the hell DO we get it from?
              • Re:Too True (Score:5, Insightful)

                by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @08:27PM (#15178423)
                ...then where the hell DO we get it from?
                The answer to that question is easy: we don't get it at all. Instead, we reduce our energy use.

                At least that's what those particular kinds of environmentalists believe -- personally, I think wind (and solar, and tidal, and nuclear) power is great.
          • Re:Too True (Score:4, Funny)

            by Xzzy ( 111297 ) <> on Friday April 21, 2006 @05:57PM (#15177589) Homepage
            "Wind farms cause women to have five periods a month and give them brain cancer."

            Even worse, windmills steal energy from the planet, and due to the requirement of the conservation of energy, will slow down earth's rotation, destroy its orbit, and send us crashing into the sun!
          • The Nantucket fight is not typical and had cogent arguments on both sides.

            I agree that most the time it comes down to property values; having seen how people react where I live to low income housing, white castle, or when the black family moved in down the street -- property values can bring out the worst in people. More amazing is how they try to cling to any reason except the actual one.
        • Re:Too True (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Dare nMc ( 468959 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @05:41PM (#15177453)
          > environmentalists
          I think the term was used loosely here, IMHO. these were animal lovers, and not in my backyard, very wealthy people.
          In my book, if you got a swimming pool, more bedrooms, and bathrooms than people living in the house, and own a vehicle that ways over 3000#'s you are not a environmentalist.

          now don't interperit that as saying I find anything wrong with living that way, I do what I can to get thier myself. But I realize thats I am not good for the environment, and try not to claim to be able to tell others their not entitled to do anyhting less damaging than I do myself. (well I would if it were land I owened, but if you want to do it on land you plan to own/buy.)
    • Re:Too True (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mOdQuArK! ( 87332 )

      You're ignoring the only option which won't affect _something_: to use less energy, which is what those "hardcore" environmentalists probably really want...

      ...but that doesn't make as much money so it's not an attractive "solution" to anyone making money off the energy industry and since it usually requires people to change their consumption habits, it's not an attractive solution to the majority of us "lazy" people either.

      Ah well, at some point "scarcity of resources" will catch up with us and we'll all

      • Re:Too True (Score:5, Interesting)

        by pete6677 ( 681676 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:53PM (#15177001)
        More than that, the hard core "environmentalists" want the downfall of industrial society. Extreme environmentalism is just the best way to accomplish this. Look at groups like ELF, what are they really fighting for, the environment? By setting things on fire? I think not.
        • Re:Too True (Score:4, Insightful)

          by protohiro1 ( 590732 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @05:39PM (#15177436) Homepage Journal
          Yeah, those people are stupid. I think there is a kind of liberal that lives in micro-utopias like Boulder or Eugene where every problem can be solved by organic gardening or starting a co-op. In these communities major social problems tend to exist elsewhere, so people living there think that those of us living in big cities are fools and if we all just got back to the land the problem would be solved. A pragmatic environmentalist looks at the situation in regards to how to we make sure six billion people can be healthy and fed?
          • Re:Too True (Score:4, Interesting)

            by c6gunner ( 950153 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @06:16PM (#15177731)
            The micro-utopian organic gardening crowd aren't a problem; they're the ones getting high and practicing what they preach without bothering the rest of us. The ELF types are the dangerous ones, and they exist in EVERY political movement. The real problem is that all they really want is an excuse to use force; they'd feel equaly at home in the communist movement, or as anarchists, or even as militant conservatives. For people like that, the actual goal or ideology is secondary - it's the hate and violence that's important.
      • Ah well, at some point "scarcity of resources" will catch up with us and we'll all start killing each other over what's left. Something to look forward to.

        Start? We've been doin' that for a looooong time. Relative scarcity is a function, usually, not of the total amount of a resource, but rather the limitations of the means to access it, and shortages due to tech (and exclusive control and other reasons) has been killing people in wars for a long damn time. Iraq is but a most recent example.

        ...Unless o

      • Re:Too True (Score:3, Interesting)

        by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) *
        You're ignoring the only option which won't affect _something_: to use less energy

        That is where you are incredibly wrong. All that wonderful food we eat, many of those beautiful landscapes, all those heated buildings we live in, and all those attractive clothes we wear all take energy to create. So much energy that any significant drop in power production would mean the death of a large portion of the human race today. Food production would drop, areas couldn't be cleared and replanted more effectively, bui
        • Re:Too True (Score:5, Insightful)

          by attemptedgoalie ( 634133 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @05:09PM (#15177145)
          He didn't say that everybody should stop what they're doing and start living in a hut.

          Use less energy can mean:

          Stop buying vehicles that are wasteful.
          Stop driving 5 extra miles to save 8 cents on a loaf of bread.
          Maybe investigate how to make 18-wheelers get 5mpg more than they do now.
          Build a bike lane once in a while.
          Don't give subsidies to companies that pollute when there are cleaner alternatives.

          There are thousands of ways to reduce energy use. Many involve technology.

          We can consume what we do now, and watch the population grow so that the total amount of energy consumed increases.

          Or, we can reduce what we consume now and be more efficient. As the growth in the population occurs, energy use increases at a slower rate.

          How hard would it be for us to tell energy companies, no subsidies for you. That money is going to buy insulation, and CF bulbs for every house in the country? Total electricity (therefore coal/gas) usage declines.

          • Re:Too True (Score:5, Informative)

            by heli0 ( 659560 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @05:30PM (#15177348)
            "Stop buying vehicles that are wasteful."

            Something that could easily be accomplished. A Jetta TDI wagon rated at 36/47mpg has comparable cargo capacity [] (34 cu ft) to many midsize SUVs that are rated at 15/20mpg.

            "Maybe investigate how to make 18-wheelers get 5mpg more than they do now."

            Interestingly it is WalMart that is pushing the hardest for this.

            Wal-Mart Seeks to Double Truck Fuel Economy by 2015 []
            "Wal-Mart has set a goal of doubling the fuel efficiency of its new heavy-duty trucks from 6.5 to 13 miles per gallon by 2015, thereby keeping some 26 billion pounds of carbon dioxide out of the air between now and 2020.

            Beginning with the its 2007 model-year trucks, the company will begin introducing models with improved aerodynamics, transmission and tires, as well as an auxiliary power unit in every truck in its fleet.

            Some of the changes include:

            * Trailer Side Skirts. Wind skirts under the trailer significantly reduce wind resistance and reduces airflow around the trailer. This is a big fuel economy benefit.

            * Super Single Tires. Wal-Mart combined the two wheels normally seen on a rear axle into a single wheel that is not quite as wide as the sum of two wheels. This gives a smoother ride and better fuel economy from the reduced surface area and improved tire wall stiffness.

            * Aerodynamic tractor package. Making the tractor more aerodynamic radically reduces the fuel required to operate the truck, as approximately two-thirds of all gallons burnt today by trucks can be attributed to overcoming aerodynamic resistance.

            * Tag Axle. Reduced weight means increased efficiency. This type of rear axle reduces the weight of one rear axle as it eliminates internal axle drive train.

            * Auxiliary Power Unit. This APU eliminates the use of the tractor's main engine for keeping our drivers warm or cool at night. Instead, this very small diesel engine does the job at optimum efficiency. This saves a substantial amount of fuel.

            The company has estimated it will save some $52 million per year in fuel costs."

            More info: []
      • No (Score:5, Funny)

        by NineNine ( 235196 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @05:17PM (#15177221)
        No, not quite. The best and most effective solution is: HAVE NO CHILDREN. I love it when environmentalists try to preach to me, while towing 6 kids behind them. Humans, by far and away, have the largest impact on the environment. Fuck "Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle". How about "Get a vasectomy"?
        • Re:No (Score:3, Funny)

          There's a problem with that plan - there's strong evolutionary pressure against it.

        • Re:No (Score:3, Insightful)

          by 7Prime ( 871679 )

          Ummm, calm it there, tiger. I think you're confusing demographics. If anything, environmentalist types come from educated, intellectual backgrounds, who, statistically, get married later in life, have less children, and are more likely to use birth control. The reality is that it's middle-america... mid-western catholic or fundy protestant types, or the low-income, uneducated, and uninformed that have the largest number of rugrats. A lot of the people I know are environmentalists, and I tend to consider mys

        • Re:No (Score:3, Funny)

          The best and most effective solution is: HAVE NO CHILDREN.

          I am so all over that, man. I'm on Slashdot, I've got a Linux PDA, and I just dug out my talking watch from junior high. There will be no fruit from these loins, brother!

    • Re:Too True (Score:5, Insightful)

      by grassy_knoll ( 412409 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:53PM (#15177002) Homepage
      Seems you and I had the same thought... I'll add that the next paragraph from TFA is intersting as well:
      Still, energy projects don't even have to be viable to spark opposition: Already, there are activists gearing up to fight the nascent biofuel industry, on the grounds that fields of switch grass or cornstalks needed to produce ethanol will replace rainforests and bucolic country landscapes. Soon the nonexistent "hydrogen economy" will doubtless be under attack as well. There's a lot of earnest, even bipartisan talk nowadays about the need for clean, emissions-free energy. But are we really ready, politically, to build any new energy sources at all?

      There is a downside to everything... which is something people seem to miss. Joe Sixpack and Sarah Soccermom want a perfect solution that never needs fixing, looks cute and emits only rainbows and pine scented goodness.

      There is no perfect solution. Until people accept that, and agree on what the "least bad" solution is, we'll likely be stuck with deadlock. Lets hope it doesn't take electricity rationing and $20 per gallon gasoline to drag people to that point.
    • Re:Too True (Score:2, Insightful)

      by sfjoe ( 470510 )

      When you get done with your ridiculous rant, you might stop and look at the ACTUAL benefits of wind power, which are underwhelming: []
      • Re:Too True (Score:5, Insightful)

        by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <{akaimbatman} {at} {}> on Friday April 21, 2006 @05:16PM (#15177212) Homepage Journal
        And here we have someone who failed to READ THE F***KING ARTICLE. This isn't about Wind. It's about everything from Nuclear to Bio-Fuels to Solar to Hydrogen. It's all about that people are looking at the perceived negatives of energy technologies while they blissfully ignore the fact that they NEED ENERGY TO SURVIVE.

        The "actual benefits of wind power" are neither here nor there.
      • Re:Too True (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Rei ( 128717 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @05:36PM (#15177415) Homepage
        Wikipedia has a lot more balanced discussion of the pros and cons of wind power: []

        To sum up: Intermittancy is a non-issue where associated with pumped storage. Europe's hydroelectric dams, for example, have enough water behind them to power the entire continent for a month, and only take minutes to change their output. There are plenty of other efficient ways to deal with the intermittancy issue; it just requires preplanning instead of using wind as a patch. For most systems, no extra storage is needed and no waste occurs unless you start getting to a large percentage of your power coming from wind. This is due to the fact that normal powerplants can fall off the grid without notice as well. This doesn't occur as often as wind cycles up and down, but because it can occur, and the results of a loss of power are unacceptable to Americans, we have to have the surplus capacity anyways. Wind power output can generally be predicted well for hours in advance, which is more than enough for most existing plants to ramp up their generation (some plants take as little as 30 seconds). This ignores demand-side management as well. For example, if you have wind power running an electricity-intensive industrial process (such as aluminum refining or desalinization), you just ramp up and down plant capacity as the power situation dictates. The wider the turbines are spread out, the more constant the wind is. Also, wind tends to be inversely correlated with solar energy (cloudy days and nights tend to be windier)

        There are lots of refs at the bottom of the page.

        Also, your linked article may want to recheck how "little" global warming hydroelectric power (which wind often displaces) causes. Dams displace CO2, but they increase methane production; methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas. In some cases, hydroelectric plants are worse global warming contributors, per MW, than coal. Pairing wind with hydroelectric allows you to reduce the scale of the hydroelectric plant use (or, conversely, to get a lot more power out of a give amount of hydroelectric potential)
  • by Dutchmaan ( 442553 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:40PM (#15176885) Homepage
    ..and it's the paper one that holds the final say.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:41PM (#15176889)
    ...are full of hot air.

    Perhaps we could use them to power turbines.
  • by DAldredge ( 2353 ) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:42PM (#15176896) Journal
    This is impossible - everyone knows that it is the republicans and big business that are against the environment and that all liberals and environmental groups are for it...

    *bangs head into wall*
    • by Whiney Mac Fanboy ( 963289 ) * <> on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:50PM (#15176967) Homepage Journal
      liberals and environmental groups are for it...

      liberal != environmentalist

      A good environemntalist is a conservative - they conserve their energy use by being conservative with their power needs.

      Life is never black & white.
      • by rtaylor ( 70602 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @07:18PM (#15178121) Homepage
        A good environemntalist is a conservative - they conserve their energy use by being conservative with their power needs.
        Indeed. Low taxes requires low government consumption. Low energy bills in your home requires low energy usage.

        The guy who calculates that each use of a single pair of $400 shoes plus 2 new sets of soles ($50 a shot) is 21 cents per day over a decade vesus 40 cents per day for a pair of $100 shoes that last a year -- thus buys the single pair of shoes.

        Reduce and Reuse are both far more important than Recycling but it takes an awfully frugle person to make significant headway on them.

        Live well beneth your means and you will be an exceptional environmentalist and have a ton of cash in the bank.

  • Tourism & fishing (Score:3, Informative)

    by arfuni ( 775132 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:44PM (#15176915) Homepage
    Their major complaint, from previous coverage that I've seen on the issue, is that the turbines will be visible from shore and may interfere with fishing and pleasure boating (i.e. tourism) in the area - which is just about the *only* local industry aside from domestic labor (housecleaning, cooking, etc for the filthy rich).
  • These are anti-capitolists!! They HATE the human race. In fact, they would rather wish all human beings die. They see us as a virus, and not a natural part of Earths evolution.

    Fuck em!!! Time they are made irrelevant by the worlds population. Just fucking burry them.
    • while overly hostile, your point that they are not enviromentalist, but anti-capatilists(which is why green peace is a joke) is correct.

      There also people who are afraid a windmill might cause them to not make as much money as they think they might ba able to without one.

      A smart person would utilize as a tourist industry. If it is out to see, you can take divers out to an artificial coral reef. etc. . .
    • by Valdrax ( 32670 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:59PM (#15177059)
      No. You're confusing the loony, back-to-nature, anti-civilization crowd with the moneyed, "as long as it doesn't involve actual sacrifice", feel-good faux-enviromentalist crowd.

      Completely opposite ends of the green spectrum: Extremists vs. dabblers. Wannabe terrorists vs. people who put a bumper sticker on their SUV.

      It's like equating Falwell's crazies with fair-weather Christians. It offends people in the middle who care about the message but haven't gone so far as to be unable to understand it anymore.
  • I object... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 3.2.3 ( 541843 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:45PM (#15176923) calling aestheticians environmentalists.
    • Mod parent up (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Valdrax ( 32670 )
      I agree. These people aren't environmentalists. They're too wrapped up in their property values to sacrifice for the greater good by allowing pollution free power that might be visible from their backyard.

      Calling these people environmentalists is an smear attack against actual environmentalists.
    • Re:I object... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by visualight ( 468005 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @05:22PM (#15177271) Homepage
      The first thing I thought when I read the summary was, "These people aren't fucking environmenntalists, and whoever wrote the article *and* whoever wrote the summary DAMN WELL KNOWS IT."

      So I open the comments expecting to see all of them basically repeating same, but instead I had to scroll all the way down here to find your comment.

  • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:45PM (#15176925)
    a proposal to build wind turbines alongside a coal mine, on a heavily logged mountaintop next to a transmission line, has just been nixed by state officials who called it too environmentally damaging.

    Yeah, because in 2 or 3 decades, when the sea rises and countless disaster stories that will make the LA flooding look like a joke will occur every year, the weather will turn hot and sterile, or brutally cold where it was mild before,... I'm sure we'll all be happy that the mountaintop's view has been preserved...
  • by wrenhunter ( 619413 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:45PM (#15176927)
    Their well-funded lobbying last month won them the attentions of Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), who ... helped pass an amendment designed to kill the project altogether.

    Why's that Don? Are you going to help us build a 35-mile bridge from Hyannis to Nantucket instead?

    • Well... I think the problem is that wind power might make a drop in the value of Alaskan oil especially if it ever became really viable. He's just thinking of the future.
    • by Valdrax ( 32670 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @05:09PM (#15177149)

      You know these people aren't environmentalists when they get Don Young on their side. Let's look at some Don Young quotes: []

      "Environmentalists are a socialist group of individuals that are the tool of the Democrat Party. I'm proud to say that they are my enemy. They are not Americans, never have been Americans, never will be Americans."

      "I don't see any justification for the federal government owning land, other than the Statue of Liberty and maybe a few parks, maybe a few refuges. But to just own land to do nothing with it I think is a disservice to the Constitution."

      "We wonder why we have got the Freemen or the militants. We wonder why we have got unrest in this country. It is because our government, in fact, has got out of hand and out of line, with the Endangered Species Act."

      If I have my way, I'm going to dissolve the Forest Service. They're in the business of harvesting trees and they're not harvesting trees, so why have them anymore?

      If you can't eat it, can't sleep under it, can't wear it or make something from it, it's not worth anything.

      The environmentalists - the self-centered bunch, the waffle-stomping, Harvard-graduating, intellectual idiots that don't understand that they're leading this country into environmental disaster.

      Yeah, Don, it's the environmentalists that are leading us into environmental disaster. Riiiiiight....

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Fine. If they want to opt-out of the other solutions, then cut the power lines to the houses along the coast and let them figure out a solution to the problem that they will find satisfactory.
  • by kbielefe ( 606566 ) * <> on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:47PM (#15176945)
    They are just thinking longer term than us. Running out of oil, we can deal with. But running out of wind would be a true ecological disaster.
  • I am agianst wind power, the cumulative effect of removing that much wind energy from the environment will reduce the total air movement around the world. With the reducion in wind currents the earth will be unable to cool itself, causing global warming. ;)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:49PM (#15176961)
    Republicans advocate states rights up to the point your state goes medical marijuana, pro gay marriage, physican-assisted suicide or anything else they don't like.
    • Republicans advocate states rights up to the point your state goes medical marijuana, pro gay marriage, physican-assisted suicide or anything else they don't like.

      I agree 100%, except it is rich Cape Cod Democrats protesting the wind farms.
  • by rqqrtnb ( 753156 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:50PM (#15176973)
    Let's convene a conference about birds being killed by paned glass.

    Maybe the UN can get hold of the issue and negotiate a deal with glassmakers that would see them manage a fund dedicated to supporting the abandoned chicks of deceased winged parents cut-down by clear glass panes.

    Then they could siphon a little off for themselves and their immediate relatives and remain beyond the reach of the law, even as they grandstand as the judges of right and wrong in the world.

    Birds are also being killed by the avian flu. Those concerned should be developing and distributing an innoculation for birds everywhere, but they're not, are they?

    Perhaps those claiming to be avian rights supporters should be placed on trial by the UN after the UN has first secured the aforementioned sweet deal over the glass panes, at which point it might accuse the world's chief bird rights organization of fraud, misrepresentation, malfeasance and the mismanagement of the public trust.

    This organization might become the subject of various resolutions, after which it might be accused of developing weapons of mass destruction, preparing the way for sanctions, an economic embargo and eventual invasion.

    If you're going to go around claiming to care for birds, you'd g*ddam*ed well better be caring for birds, and not just pretending to while you pursue your hidden, nefarious anti-windmill agenda.
  • Supersonic Windmill (Score:3, Interesting)

    by alohatiger ( 313873 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:51PM (#15176974) Homepage
    Whatever happened with the idea of building a giant pipeline to generate power? It would be 100 miles or so long, and 10 feet wide. The last half-mile at each end it would taper out to about 20 feet. As weather fronts passed over it, the pressure difference would push air through the pipe, where it would achieve supersonic speed (due to the tapering).

    In the middle was a turbine that would work in both directions (as the pressure difference could go either way).
  • by mobiux ( 118006 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:52PM (#15176984)
    In western WI, a private company is looking at building a wind farm in my county.
    I thought people would be happy about it, usually anything renewable is looked well upon, hell 5 miles away there is a manure digester that was praised for being "forward-looking".

    But this project is facing major opposition from the local residents because of supposedly lower property value.
    Funny thing about it, they don't want a windfarm ruining thier view, but they have no problem building a $500,000 house on a previously wooded hillside, and running the nice road up the side of the hill to drive there.

    They can kiss my ass, as least i am getting something from the windmill.
    • Funny thing about it, they don't want a windfarm ruining thier view, but they have no problem building a $500,000 house on a previously wooded hillside, and running the nice road up the side of the hill to drive there.

      Down the road from where I live (Wellington, New Zealand), there are a group of local residents trying to block the impending wind turbines. The complaints are a combination of property values, living aesthetics, and so on, as usually happens when this sort if thing happens. There's also

  • by bstarrfield ( 761726 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:52PM (#15176987)

    Folks are in denial of the seriousness of the energy crisis, and the realities of energy production. They assume that some miracle, somehow, will provide them with the energy to drive out and live in in their beautiful second homes, free of any aesthetic and environmental problems. They want to be close to some idyllic nature, free of stress. And the reason they can be in denial is that energy production - through the magic of long distance ac/dc wires - shifts production burdens to some poor sap somewhere else.

    Consider the opposition to wind: why build a wind farm near some lovely guest home on the Cape when you can build a coal plant in West Virginia? The poor folks (and WV is a very poor state), will take the coal plant and see their homes turn grey, their mountains cut to shreds, their lungs turn black. And Cape Cod will be sunny, pretty, free from harm, at the cost of someone else's life.

    I realize this sounds extreme, but look at the coal / oil / hydrocarbon executives who lobby Congress for tax breaks for gas and coal production, freedom from pollution controls, etc. and then spend the weekends in Bozeman, Montana. They don't see the effects of the damage they're doing, as, well - they get to live in an idyllic mountain valley.

    Until we can develop fusion, energy production will be ugly. Sad, but true. Windmills are not at all perfect, but are hell of a lot better, IMHO, than some coal plant choking the lungs of those folks who cannot afford a second home in luxury land. I wish those who always say NIMBY! would accept some responsibility for their own choices, and recognize the need to share the burden of energy production.

    This is an economic case of externalities being allocated to those with the least political power, the least influence, the least chance of fighting back. Putting the plant on the cheapest land may be accounting wise efficient, but may be bad policy. We either have the windmills, or the coal plant, or the nuke, but somewhere power must be generated.

  • Well in general wind farms suck. They actually take enough energy out of the air to make a difference to the environment. That shouldn't be a big surprise, after all wind doesn't really have that much energy in it in the first place compared to water, geothermal, etc.

    Nuclear is great if done right, like reactors that cannot melt down. If only the administration's nuclear policy was promoting those. Nope, they want the crappy ones that can poison everything for hundreds of miles so they can get more corp
  • Live with that 24/7/365 and tell me how great it is!

    Fill my lungs with soot but don't make me hear a Whispering Homer!

    Irradiate my nuts into useless glowing rasins but don't make me crosseyed staring at PinWheels!

    Besides aren't there poor people somewhere with wind?
  • by sczimme ( 603413 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:55PM (#15177017)

    There is a bank of windmills visible from the PA Turnpike, somewhere in the western half of the state. I would suggest that such areas - those adjacent to major traffic arteries - would be excellent locations for wind-based power generation. Quite often the land surrounding the turnpikes and interstates isn't exactly prime residential land, so the NIMBYism might be kept to a minimum.

    From The Fine Article: They are right to note that wind will not soon replace coal or gas, that wind isn't always as effective as supporters claim

    I find this viewpoint frustrating: "it won't solve all of our problems at once so it is not worth pursuing". We might actually need a combination of solutions to the energy problem - imagine that.

  • It's as simple as that. Everybody wants cheap renewable energy, nobody wants to have it generated in their own back yard.

    No matter how unobtrusive, there are downsides to all power generation. Windmills happen to have viewshed issues. From the numbers I've seen, the return on investment isn't ver good either. A project in VA had a ROI of less than 12%, assuming the turbines were running at design output 24/365 (I know, it's usually 24/7/365, but that seems redundant), and disregarding any maintenance costs
  • by mmell ( 832646 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @05:00PM (#15177061)
    Y'know, it's actually impossible for us in the USA to repeat that kind of engineering feat - not that we lack the technology, the skill, the resources . . . just the willingness to acknowledge that TANSTAAFL (There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch, R. Heinlein), that if we want our lifestyle and our standard of living, something's gotta give. Somewhere there has to be a refinery, or a power plant, or a wind-farm, or a hydroelectric dam.

    Nowadays, there's no way to legally replicate such marvellous accomplishments as our fathers bequeathed to us. No more Hoover Dams, no more offshore drilling, no more drilling in the wilderness. Mind you, I hold nature worthy of preservation but I also hold technology worthy of furtherance. There must be a balancing point somewhere; we seem to have missed it.

    You ever think that our grandparents are only dieing of old age because their progeny is embarassing them? Just sayin', is all.

  • This is just another example of a larger trend. Enviornmentalists and Enviornmental groups sabatoging enviornmental progress by insisting on perfection. By refusing to comprimise or to throw their weight behind the less damaging projects/praise those who implement them enviornmentalists sabatoge their own cause.

    I mean consider this from the perspective of a company, or even country thinking of implementing some measures to minimize the enviornmental harm of their actions. If they know that they will st
  • by Phoenix666 ( 184391 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @05:02PM (#15177082)
    I don't doubt that there are those who think that windmills would ruin their property values. To them I say, gee, windmills didn't seem to hurt Holland too much that way. On a nasty thought, I think that the utilities trying to build the windfarm should have first proposed a garbage or coal-powered plant that would belch thick black soot all over their mansions, and then backed off to a wind farm saying, "OK, OK, FINE! We'll build a wind farm instead."

    However, my suspicious side wonders if this isn't a subtle and carefully orchestrated case of Big Oil FUD. Who better to benefit in times of astronomic oil prices when the public is screaming to politicians then to point to these anti-wind groups and say, see, they're no better.
  • by dominion ( 3153 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @05:06PM (#15177125) Homepage
    People really need to differentiate between environmentalists (ie, people who have a sincere concern about the air we breath, the water we drink, the land we cultivate, and everything inbetween) and NIMBY rich people who don't want an eyesore in their costly scenic view.

    Sure, NIMBY rich people might claim that what they want is to save the environment, but really, all they want is to maintain their property values.
  • Absolute stupidity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @05:06PM (#15177127)

    I've seen no end of moronic arguments about this stuff. Some of the "better examples":

    • "It'll hurt the birds". Right. Birds are too stupid to avoid a large group of spinning windmills...
    • "There will be a lot of diesel fuel stored on the platform, it could spill and be a disaster!" The diesel is for equipment used for maintenance and repair- and isn't all that big compared to an oil tank used in residential setups
    • "The vibrations will confuse whales!"
    • "They'll be hideous to look at." Uh, sure- if you sail right up to them. From the beach in most places, you'd barely be able to see them.
    • "They'll be a navigation hazard." Right, because they won't have giagantic radar signatures for commercial boats with Radar, they won't be marked on charts, they won't have marker lights...
    • "We don't need them." Funny. Is that why Cape Cod electric rates are astronomical?

    I hate this crap. They're terrified of their property values dropping, so they are desperately trying to fight it any way they can, digging up any idea they can come up with for why this is stupid. Wind power works great in a lot of european countries, without any nasty "ecological impacts".

    Maybe they'd like a nuclear power plant on Nantucket instead? How about a coal-fired electric plant? Maybe they'd like their electric bill to quadruple to pay for solar panels that won't last more than 15 years?

  • by sentientbrendan ( 316150 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @05:17PM (#15177224)
    It seems wildly inaccurate to call these guys environmentalists...

    Don Young in particular is one of the guys trying to get us to drill in ANWR (alaska national wildlife reserve). He receives a lot of money from the oil industry, and in the past suggested that the world trade center attacks might have been carried out by "eco-terrorists"... _1_13/ai_82352618 []
    >Young told a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News that responsibility could lie with groups other than
    >Islamic fundamentalists. "If you watched what happened in Genoa, in Italy, and even in Seattle, there's
    >some expertise in that field," said Young. "I'm not sure they're that dedicated, but ecoterrorists ...
    >there's a strong possibility that could be one of the groups."

    Its surprising how often oil industry figures and others are able to hijack environmentalist sentaments in this country...
  • by phkamp ( 524380 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @05:42PM (#15177456) Homepage
    Back in the 1980ies here in Denmark, a left-lunatic-fringe school built the first windmill and published a report titled "Let a thousand windmills bloom"

    They were ridiculed and everybody were adamant that windmills would spoil the landscape and do things to the cows milk etc.

    Then the government introduced a subsidy on electricity from windmills and suddenly all the farmers could see a good business case and today we have most of the country plastered with windmills.

    As a result Denmark gets around 20% of its electricity from wind nowadays.

    Once energy prices get high enough, windmills will stop ruining USA and become "a sensible economic investment".

    BTW: The trend here is to put new windmills off the coast because water disturbs the wind less than land.

  • by TheNarrator ( 200498 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @06:04PM (#15177651)
    I'm related to an anti-wind activist and I'll tell you what they think. First off, they complain that there is far too much population on the planet. They think people should stop having children, etc. Think euthanasia is a good thing, etc. They are the basically lower the population at any and all costs and don't go creating any more energy or else it will encourage people to have more babies. They think that since they have lots of money they'll be the last ones kicked out of the lifeboat when the difficult times come. Really, they are living so damned well that a huge drop in their standard of living wouldn't really mean that much to them if it meant that all the less desirable inhabitants of the planet were eliminated. This position has actually become quite popular in recent years and I hear it more often and more vehemently. I just wish people would come right out and say it. Instead they take positions on various issues that they think will promote their aims and just pay lip service to whatever window dressing makes the rest of the coalition they're with happy.
  • Where I live in Vermont there is a proposal to place a industrial wind farm along the rigde line of the local mountain .The energy generated from the wind farm was going to be sold off to out of state energy producers for "Green Credits" so they could continue to to pollute while adhearing to regulatory reqirements by purchsing green energy from the wind farm project .

    The locals where railroaded and the proposed size of the project was increased and their where no concessions provided to rate payers by the town or state for taxpayers .The local utility did not offer any reduced energy rates to the local residents either and is one of the main reason Im opposed to the wind project and the fact the project is a scam for polluters to aviod their regulatory requirements .

    More Info here []
  • by Shivetya ( 243324 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @06:20PM (#15177764) Homepage Journal
    The question we face as a nation and as a world is, are we going to allow the few to dictate to the many? Are we going to allow people to suffer, in some areas of the world opposition does lead to suffering or furthering of it, because of a few?

    Too many times those opposing any development live no where near it. They travel to the sites to protest or wage dissent from afar.

    What it comes down to is that there are groups that feel as if they are above us. They think it is their place to tell others what is good for them and that these "others" must do without because it is for "the best".

    Power is a valuable resource. With it we can bring the standards of living up for those it is provided too. With renewable resources we can accomplish this with very little impact on future generations except for perhaps a better environment. Keeping development of alternative and renewable resources only furthers the negative impact currently "dirty" methods cause.

    What is ever so appalling is that many of these elites are politically connected, well off, and imposing on those who cannot afford alternatives to live a lesser life. They would rather sacrifice the comfort of others just so they can feel righteous in their position. Sure some are truly out to help the environment but they are misguided as nothing will ever meet their standards. As soon as their standard is met they will update it or another group will step in with more stringent requirements.

    We have to face one thing, whether or not we do something to free our dependance on dirty sources of power and dependance on others for power, other countries will move forward. They will do what is necessary to improve their lives while we forever come up with excuses to sit back and do nothing.

    Civilizations do not advance by sitting still. They do not advance by listening to every naysayer who pops out of the woodwork. But they do decline when they do sit still and become hamstrung by the naysayers into doing nothing. It is no different on the political front in the world as it is in the environmental front. Both will go from bad to worse if we reason ourself into a corner.
  • by drwho ( 4190 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @07:33PM (#15178204) Homepage Journal
    I have really strong feelings about this, so excuse me if I rant a bit.

    The so-called Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, i.e. those people trying to stop wind turbines in the water off of cape cod, is headed by William I. Koch, who is a billionaire by way of his family's Oil & Gas fortune. The Alaska congressmen are just trying to protect the value of the what Alaska is worth - which is a lot of money when the US can get oil from nowhere else -- of course they don't want competition from states who would rather generate the power at home without expensive Alaskan oil. Ted Kennedy is opposed for an unknown reason - but the other Massachusetts senator, the famous John Kerry, is a supporter of Wind Power.

    There was a document leaked a while back showing the fund raising strategy of the professional fund raising company from new york who was hired by this Alliance - and the strategy biols down to "Don't bother with the poor or middle class - raise money from the ultra-rich" -- the rich who don't have to suffer from energy crisis that we are going through, or some who even get richer because of it.

    I am going to stop now, before I burst an artery...

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