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Some Refuse Bribes For Noisy Wind Farms

From a flummoxed New York Times:

Turbines Too Loud? Here, Take $5,000

July 31, 2010

IONE, Ore. — Residents of the remote high-desert hills near here have had an unusual visitor recently, a fixer working out the kinks in clean energy.

Patricia Pilz of Caithness Energy, a big company from New York that is helping make this part of Eastern Oregon one of the fastest-growing wind power regions in the country, is making a tempting offer: sign a waiver saying you will not complain about excessive noise from the turning turbines — the whoosh, whoosh, whoosh of the future, advocates say — and she will cut you a check for $5,000.

“Shall we call it hush money?” said one longtime farmer, George Griffith, 84. “It was about as easy as easy money can get.”

Mr. Griffith happily accepted the check, but not everyone is taking the money. Even out here — where the recession has steepened the steady decline of the rural economy, where people have long supported the massive dams that harness the Columbia River for hydroelectric power, where Oregon has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in tax incentives to cultivate alternative energy — pockets of resistance are rising with the windmills on the river banks.

Residents in small towns are fighting proposed projects, raising concerns about threats to birds and big game, as well as about the way the giant towers and their blinking lights spoil some of the West’s most alluring views.

Here, just west of where the Columbia bends north into Washington, some people are fighting turbines that are already up and running. In a region where people often have to holler to be heard over the roar of the wind across the barren hills, they say it is the windmills that make too much noise.

Obviously, these people are what they used to call in the Soviet Union ‘wreckers.’

“The only thing we have going for us is the Oregon state noise ordinance,” said Mike Eaton, an opponent of the turbines.

Oregon is one of a growing number of places that have drafted specific regulations restricting noise from wind turbines. The Oregon law allows for noise to exceed what is considered an area’s ambient noise level by only a certain amount. But what those ambient levels are is sometimes disputed, as is how and where they should be measured.

And while state law limits turbine noise, the state office that once enforced industrial noise laws, housed within the Department of Environmental Quality, was disbanded in 1991, long before wind power became a state priority

And don’t worry. These local noise ordinances won’t be allow to stand for long, in any case. Mr. Holder’s (Social) Justice Department will not allow there to be a ‘patchwork’ of different noise laws across the country.

Opponents say the constant whooshing from the turbines makes them anxious and that the low-level vibrations keep them awake at night. Some say it gives them nausea and headaches. Many other residents say they hear little or nothing at all, and the question of whether windmill noise can harm health is in dispute

Isn’t it funny the things that are suddenly “in dispute”? Hellaciously loud wind turbines might not cause problems for those living next to them. But the dangers of man-made global warming is ‘settled science.’

While Invenergy is still dealing with the noise issue even after Willow Creek, which has 48 turbines, has been up and running for more than 18 months, Caithness Energy, the company asking some residents to sign waivers allowing noise to exceed certain limits, hopes it can solve the issue upfront. It also has more at stake.

Caithness is building a much larger wind farm adjoining Willow Creek called Shepherd’s Flat. The new farm is expected to have 338 turbines and generate more than 900 megawatts when it is completed in 2013, which would make it one of the largest wind facilities in the country

Ms. Pilz, the local Caithness representative, did not volunteer the information that Caithness offers people money to sign noise easements, though she eventually confirmed in an interview that it did. She also would not say how much money it offers, though several property owners said she had offered them $5,000…

Some people who did not sign said that Ms. Pilz made them feel uncomfortable, that she talked about how much Shepherd’s Flat would benefit the struggling local economy and the nation’s energy goals, and that she suggested they were not thinking of the greater good if they refused.

“The lady that came said everyone else signed,” said Jarrod Ogden, 33, a farmer whose house would be directly opposite several 300-foot turbines once Shepherd’s Flat is completed. “But I know for a fact that some people didn’t. I’m all for windmills, but I’m not going to let them buy me like that. I think they’re just trying to buy cheap insurance.”

How shocking it is to learn that these sainted green people are buying off the locals – and even resorting to lying to these innocent farmers in the process.

It’s almost enough to shake our faith in the integrity of the whole environmental movement.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, August 2nd, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “Some Refuse Bribes For Noisy Wind Farms”

  1. Liberals Demise says:

    Don’t take zee bribes and your name will be in their books.
    (Noone will hear your screams over the whoosh, whoosh, whoosh)

  2. jimreport says:

    the whoosh, whoosh, whoosh of the future, advocates say

    Yes, the windmill – invented in the first century is the energy of the future, in opposite land.

  3. jobeth says:

    I have a friend (liberal) who has a home on a hill in PA, not 15 miles from where Flt 93 went down. There are already windmills on the hill they live on. Not on their property, but on the same hill. They are already complaining about the noise.

    What are the chances that our Global warming/climate change guru king, Algore surrounds himself with this wonderful futuristic mode of energy? ( I suspect that is in negative numbers) I mean since he uses so much energy in his “little” cottage, that would be the most sensible thing to do…wouldn’t it? And we know how sensible and sensitive Algore is.

    By the way….where is Peta? I understand that birds are constantly trying to fly thought those blades…but then I suppose it’s their own fault. Can’t they hear the noise….?

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