Monday, November 05, 2012


i started out wanting to write a post on fracking. i also wanted to write one on wind turbines.

but the thing is you can't just talk about those things without talking about the other things. climate change. NIMBYism. environmental safety (which is different than but related to environmental conservation).

let's start with the wind power. i live in a state where there are a couple of wind projects and some contested wind projects and some companies that make wind power equipment. it's local politics for me.

and i found myself traveling on other people's landscapes and looking at the giant white wind turbines on their hilltops and skylines.

i thought they were beautiful. beautiful and practical.

but not everybody loves them.

if you go through a town like searsburg, VT, you will see signs that people here are still very angry about the wind project. they don't like the noise. they don't like their view spoiled. i think more than anything they don't like outsiders coming in and changing their landscape without their assent or control.

because let's face it, these pristine mountaintops everyone wants to protect? a hundred years ago theywere clear-cut logged out.

i've been looking at the ridge to the east of my house (and when i say east, i mean that i live right at the bottom of those mountains. it's a mile or two walk to the top) and i've been thinking how much i would enjoy the view from here if it had wind turbines on it.

my favored ski mountain has a wind turbine at the top that partially powers the resort, and i don't notice that i find the mountain less beautiful.

but a large scale wind project? i might feel different about that.

in searsburg, they're very much in favor of fracking and the keystone pipeline and keeping vermont yankee running.

a couple of years ago i found myself on a road up near the maple ridge wind farm. some people don't like them.

but while i was up there taking pictures, a couple of people stopped to ask me if i was lost. no, i was just looking for some geocaches. and taking pictures. and i told them that wind projects are controversial where i'm from  and wondered if they might tell me about how these projects are affecting their community?

what these people said was that this is agricultural land, and wind is a crop. the one guy said that when he hears the sound of the turbines, he thinks of that much more of an economic cushion if the price of milk falls again.

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