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June 4, 2006- Cleaner Energy vs Don't Mess with my View

There is general agreement in this country that we do need alternative sources of energy; that we need cleaner sources of energy. When it comes to "clean", there are few sources cleaner than the wind. Yet we also know that when a Wind Farm is proposed in a community, the "NIMBY- Not In My Backyard" mentality quickly moves to the front burner.

But now, the Federal Government is getting involved. Politicians are getting involved, as reported in a front page story of the Chicago Tribune a few days ago, headlined "FAA Takes the Wind Out of Wind Farms. Critics blame politics, after the Federal Aviation Administration suspends projects in the Midwest.

Tribune reporter Michael Hawthorne wrote "...the Federal Government has stopped work on more than a dozen Wind Farms planned across the Midwest, saying research is need on whether the giant turbines could interfere with military radar. But backers of wind power say the action has little to do with national security. The real issue they say, is a group of wealthy vacationers who think a proposed Wind Farm off the coast of Cape Cod in Massachusetts would spoil the view of their summer homes. Opponents of the Cape Wind project include several influential members of Congress, and critics say their latest attempt to thwart the planting of 130 turbines in Nantucket Sound has led to a moratorium on new Wind Farms hundreds of miles away in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota."

The list of stalled projects includes one outside Bloomington, IL that would be the nation's largest source of wind energy, generating enough electricity to power 120 thousand homes.

So on the one hand we have President Bush, in a speech in Milwaukee a few months ago, saying "wind turbines eventually could provide 20% of the nation's energy needs". But then on the other hand, the Defense Department is saying it doesn't know if those turbines will interfere with radar systems used by the military and they have now, effectively, put a stop to dozens of those projects "until they complete their study".

So now we add one more ingredient to the other non-scientific reasons to oppose Wind Farms....Politics, powerful politicians, who with a call to the FAA and the Defense Department can keep America from getting something it badly needs...alternative, clean energy from the wind. It's time to let our elected officials know we are tired of personal politics getting in the way of clean, renewable sources of energy.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.