‘UNPRECEDENTED EFFORT TO STRANGLE CLEAN ENERGY’ UNDERWAY
Currently there is wending it’s way through Congress, a new bill, introduced by the Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, Democrat Nick Rahall of West Virginia, which 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.
Allegedly, this new legislation is intended to bring an end to bird deaths caused when the hapless creatures fly into the turbines, but the data tells us otherwise. According to the National Academy of Sciences, bird deaths caused by wind turbines amounted to less than three of every 100,000 birds to die in calendar year 2003.
Moreover, existing evidence suggests that fossil fuel-fired electricity generation, not covered by H.R. 2337’s requirements, has far greater wildlife impacts, then the previously mentioned wind turbines.
Reacting to the proposed legislation, Gregory Wetstone, Senior Director of Government and Public Affairs of the American Wind Energy Association noted the obvious, “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?”
The answer here is a rousing no. Quoting Wetstone once again, “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.”
Shouldn’t Congress be looking for ways to support this venture and accelerate its growth rather than placing roadblocks in its path? Here at Lib’sEarthWatch, we believe this to be the case.
That is of course unless this legislation is just another mealy-mouthed way for bought and paid for congressmen to do the bidding of their masters in the fossil fuel industry?
Perhaps an organization such as Mr. Wetstone’s could look a bit deeper into this possible link. In the meantime, it is up to those of us in the BLOGOSPHERE to keep this story alive.