Another Chance to Save New Hampshire Mountaintops!

wind watch signResidents of New Hampshire have yet another chance to save the mountaintops of the western highlands region of the state from destruction.   On Wednesday the full New Hampshire house will hold hearings and then vote on SB-99 in its amended form and a new amendment to HB-2.

SB-99, once the moratorium bill has emerged from the Senate Energy Committee transformed into an entirely different bill.  In an apparent compromise, Senator Bradley’s proposal to exclude transmission lines in the moratorium did not survive.  Although transmission lines (pertaining of course to the Northern Pass project)  did get back into the moratorium bill, this only occurred with the exclusion of the moratorium demand entirely.  In its place the Senate inserted language to create a committee be formed from members of the house and the senate.

Representative Neal Kurk, of Weare has proposed an amendment to HB-2 which will put in place a moratorium and will read: (this is the proposed draft):

“Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, there are here by established moratoriums on the constructions of wind turbine plants and electric transmission line projects in the state of New Hampshire until July 1, 2014. The site evaluation committee, established in RSA 162-H:3, shall issue no certificates for wind turbine plants or electric transmission line projects under RSA 162-H while such moratoriums are in effect.”

Everyone needs to call or email their representative TODAY or TONIGHT to let them know that wind turbines will have a serious, irreversible effect on our environment, our natural landscape and resultingly our economy statewide.  This is not a regional issue but a serious statewide issue.  A moratorium will temporarily halt approval of turbine development until further study and due process on research can commence without pressure or undo influence from the wind industry.  Click on the link below for an easy to use search tool to find your representative and their contact information.   The representatives have heard the opinion and propaganda of the paid lobbyists for the wind industry, have they heard from you?

Who’s my Legislator?

Some background:

This committee already has come together and recommended right out the gate that the Site Evaluation Committee adopt the Proposed Wind Siting Guidelines (.pdf) that a consortium of industry and state agency persons created in 2007.  Of course, demonstrating its hesitance to take an objective stand on wind energy, the SEC decided immediately to not adopt the siting guidelines.  This despite a March 3, 2013 petition directly from the house Science, Energy and Technology Committee, requesting that the SEC adopt the 2007 proposed guidelines.

Currently there exists no guidelines for siting wind turbines, no consideration for environmental impacts and a very poor, non-democratic methodology for public input and even announcement and planning of public hearings. As per testimony from March 29, 2013 of Lisa Linowes, intervener on many turbine hearings:

No definitions are provided in either the Statute or the Committee’s rules which explain specific studies to be conducted by the Applicant in order to demonstrate, for example, the impact of the proposed facility on the environment. And no requirements address standards for conducting appropriate post-construction surveys. Since siting of wind power facilities presents challenges that are different from those faced by other types of energy facilities, there are well established protocols for conducting studies that aim to predict and address the impacts. Siting guidelines would help the SEC, State Agencies, and Applicants in deciding what studies should be conducted and the protocols to be followed PRIOR to an application being submitted. In some cases the SEC has required that additional studies be conducted after a project is permitted.  This process is inherently unfair to the public and unduly discriminates against the public’s involvement.”

Currently the SEC has complete control over who testifies and acts as an “intervener” on behalf of the public by function of their intervener approval process.  In addition, public hearing notices receive publication in the rarely read legal notices section of newspapers in the hosting area region.  In Berlin for example, it appears through reading the notes of the one hearing, that the presence of the Berlin city planner was considered sufficient public presence.  Thus the committee was able to rationalize the public’s approval and move forward with industry testimony and nothing from concerned citizens.

The most unfortunate development so far has been the refusal of Democrats, usually the defenders of environmental justice, to consider the ill effects of the wind turbines.  Representing predominantly urban areas not directly affected by the wind turbines, these representatives and senators have the temerity to call those against wind energy as NIMBY’s.   Interestingly, not one of these individuals who represent Manchester, Nashua, Portsmouth, Dover and surrounding areas will have to suffer from the ill effects of wind turbines.  In fact, it might be safe to make the conjecture that as long as the turbines remain on the mountains, then at least the seacoast won’t have to worry about the potential of wind turbines placed on their treasured seacoast.

The same holds true for those in the White Mountain region who will suffer from the effects of the 400′ towers proposed as part of the Northern Pass project.  Northern Pass, a project that Hydro-Quebec and PSNH will make millions on, will as proposed, carry electric power generated by hydro dams in southern Quebec.  Already the Innuit people have seen portions of the native lands flooded by the country of Quebec with no consideration of their needs.  In addition, it has been estimated that a lake the size of New Hampshire itself would be required to fulfill the demand from southern New England that these power lines will deliver.

These New Hampshire legislators have not only a duty to the residents in their districts, but also a duty of concern for the health of the entire state.  The wind industry, acting much like most all large industries, wishes to keep their projects as locally confined as possible, thus keeping the outrage over their risks and hazards confined as well.  The democratic process of review cannot function when the people in the entire state do not have the information needed to make proper critical analysis.  Legislators represent; they do not dictate, nor do bureaucrats or others of select group.

Both Northern Pass and the development of wind turbine “farms” (a misnomer as nothing is farmed) substantially threaten New Hampshire in many ways.  Its indeed ironic that traditional progressives have such a hard time swallowing the cruel fact that green technology is neither simple, nor easily applied to existing paradigms of energy production carved out over a century ago.  We must take the time to properly analyze, evaluate and understand our need for clean energy, our consumption habits, our production capabilities and most importantly, the long range effect all will have on our communities and environments.

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