An editorial from April 1st, in the Wall Street Journal written by functionary in the wind industry speaks his mind about the flood of federal subsidies for wind turbine development. Its worth a read and prescient to the experience across the country of people finding the development of wind power taking a turn down the old slippery slope of greed. The wind industry has woven itself into the hearts and minds of most Americans who remain unaware of the environmental hazards that the current designs of wind turbines present. In addition, as the writer, Patrick Jenevein says in his own words, the industry has, in their hunger for profit, forgotten their original mission which was in fact to assist in preserving our planet from further industrial destruction.
Wind Power Subisidies – No Thanks!
by Patrick Jenevein for the Wall Street Journal
The sequester has led to dire warnings from many camps, including advocates of clean energy, who argue that Washington’s modest cuts could derail America’s green future. But from my vantage as a CEO in the wind-power business, the sequester offers Washington a rare opportunity to roll back misguided subsidies and maybe help reverse wind power’s stalling momentum.
Since 2009, as part of the president’s stimulus, wind-farm developers have been able to get a federal cash grant or tax credit covering up to 30% of their capital investment in a new project. This is especially attractive compared with another tax credit that rewards wind farms based on how much power they actually produce. Through May 2012, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Washington spent some $8.4 billion on these cash grants.
But under the sequester, Uncle Sam is cutting the cash-grant program by 8.7% between March 1 and Sept. 30. Advocates of clean energy should welcome this haircut and urge for even more fundamental policy change.
Government subsidies to new wind farms have only made the industry less focused on reducing costs. In turn, the industry produces a product that isn’t as efficient or cheap as it might be if we focused less on working the political system and more on research and development. After the 2009 subsidy became available, wind farms were increasingly built in less-windy locations, according to the Department of Energy’s “2011 Wind Technologies Market Report.” The average wind-power project built in 2011 was located in an area with wind conditions 16% worse than those of the average project in 1998-99.
Residents 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?
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.
From The Ecologist.org, a very good article by ecologist writer Luke Dale-Harris on the EU’s Natura 2000 goals and the brewing conflict between conservation ideology and renewable energy development – once thought to be allies in the struggle to save the planet. A very prescient analysis that applies to the US and its struggles with the same conflicts. Can we make the claim that renewable energy encompasses modern values of conservation? Wind developers have used the claim of meeting the balance of providing for modern energy needs while also meeting the need to conserve the environment. As time goes on and growing experience begins to tell us wind and hydro developers have under scrutiny shown their own conflicts with preserving biodiversity in our environment.
Also most troubling as this article points out through experience provided in Eastern European countries (many of which have only recently been freed from the yoke of dictatorial control), that these new “renewable” energy industries use the same imperialist, non-democratic and hierarchical strategies of their more destructive predecessors. The exercise of sustainable practice must include involvement of all parties that make the earth their habitat, from humans to the natural environment that humans depend on.
The Hidden Conservation Costs of Renewable Energy
The birds that migrate freely across Europe are unaware of the invisible borders that lie below them. They follow the same routes that have carried them to warmth every year for an eternity, marked out by the indomitable features of the landscape – the coast of the Atlantic on one side and the curve of the Carpathian Mountains on the other. But it is what they miss that matters most; their future, along with that of the rest of us, is dictated by the political and economic tides that shift shape across the continent.
In this day, with growth and progress honoured above all else, the natural world is at the mercy of human endeavour. Allowed to run its course, the open market will drain the land of all life over and above what is fundamental for its own survival. The more fragile and economically superfluous species of the world – the lynxes and lesser spotted eagles, right down to the field cricket or river jelly lichen – remain only for as long as we consider their existence a moral imperative, and their extinction as a cause for shame. It is this that drives conservation.
Offered in support of Senate Bill 99 (in its original form) on Wednesday, March 20th, in front of the Senate Energy Committee, were testimonies of various persons who will be affected most specifically by the proposed wind turbines and the Northern Pass power line project.
While Northern Pass has received a lot of press and a lot of support from the general public due to the length of time its been before the public and the amount of organizing against, the issue of wind turbines proposed for the western highlands of the state has not received much attention.
The full senate will be voting on SB 99 tomorrow (Thursday, March 28th), please call your senator and let them know we need to halt the industrial onslaught now!
We decided to place here for your perusal, some of the testimony from that day from people. Those who will be directly affected or who have expert knowledge of how the trails and mountains will be affected by the proposed wind turbines testified that day. The folks at NH Wind Watch were kind enough to send us these transcripts and also some video that was shot of the hearing, which show most of the testimony, starting with Jeannie Forrester, the bill’s sponsor.
Also in the video are small business owners who say that like the Northern Pass effect, their business has essentially stopped, in particular those engaged in the building trades. Potential buyers lose interest once they hear of the possible wind development and current owners begin to contemplate selling before the market falls rather than expanding. Not also the one woman who comes in against the moratorium bill from Franklin, a representative of a local bank that has not stopped frothing at the mouth since Northern Pass promised huge chunks of cash to the town of Franklin.
We also included some written testimonials below the video.
from Nancy Watson
My name is Nancy Watson. I live in Groton. I don’t have a lot of statistics for you today. I think this is more about collateral damage.
As the septic was finishing up for our home, we found out about the Spruce Ridge wind farm, which will be located on the mountain top about a mile and a half in front of us, with 24 proposed 50 story industrial wind turbines. Groton Wind is about a mile and a half behind us, with another 24 similar turbines.
A few weeks ago, we learned the land on the mountaintop across from us, to the front right, went under lease for the Alpine Ridge Wind Farm. That’s also about a mile and a half away. We don’t know how many turbines will be on that ridge, because the company won’t return our phone calls. Many in Groton are worried. Our town has desirable large tracks of land. How many more wind farms are we going to squeeze into town??? How will the SEC keep up with so many applications?
I think I can safely make the assumption I will be surrounded by a triangle of approximately 75 – 50 story industrial wind turbines. I don’t think there are even that many buildings in Boston that tall! And we’re not the only ones. We have neighbors too. This will be the case for most residents of Groton.
I used to worry about what all this would look. I’m beyond that now. I worry about the harmonics when the turbines are all spinning and churning at once and the possible health effects of the low frequency waves produced by the pressure reduction. It makes some people sick. How can any wind company possibly measure the implications of so many turbines, from so many angles, from so many varying heights?
Last month, I received an assessment of my property from a local realtor/broker (with almost 30 years of experience in my area). With just the prospects of one met tower, which will undoubtedly lead to a wind project, our property will be reduced to timberland value, a 25 to 50% reduction. And so will our neighbors’ property!
We were going to build a home. Now we’re on hold. So are at least two of our neighbors. No dirt work, no carpenters, no plumbers, no electricians. No money passed to the tradesmen. No money for their families to spend at the local stores. And the cycle continues.
I’ve been sitting in on hearings and work sessions and some legislators are worried about the message a moratorium will send to business. How about us – the citizens of NH? What message are you sending us? Many of us have put our future on hold, because we don’t know what’s going to happen to our economy and to our real estate value? Why build a house, when it will be worth 50 % less before even moving in?
So in our case, my husband and I are living in our garage. Are we collateral damage?
We ask YOU to please support the moratorium until proper siting guidelines for wind facilities can be enacted to protect the residents and small businesses of NH. Thank You!
From Craig Sanborn
Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee:
My name is Craig Sanborn. I live in Enfield. I am here in my capacity as the Appalachian Mountain Club Trailmaster for Cardigan, although I emphasize that what follows is my personal observations and estimates, neither authorized nor forbidden by the Club.
The map I gave you has the hiking trails highlighted in green, the existing wind turbines on Tenney Mtn. in red, and proposed or suitable turbine sites highlighted in yellow. Wild Meadow in Danbury, Spruce Ridge in Groton and Alexandria, and Jewell Hill in Groton are all in the early stages of research for applying to the SEC for operating permits, thus have very little money invested so far. The other yellow sites are at elevations or on prominent ridges where in theory there may be wind enough often enough to run the turbines. My source is a map in the “documents” section of the nhwindwatch.com website.
There is another reason why sb99 ought to pass besides the economics of subsidized wind turbines, flat demand for electricity, health risks, and the inadequacy of the SEC to fully evaluate applications or police existing permits without the proposed 2007 guidelines. That reason is the loss of tourist revenue to the state plus the livelihoods of workers and small businesses in the tourist trade. Others have described their losses from tourists and second-home buyers refusing to invest their time and money where they would have to see Northern Pass towers or giant wind turbines. The tourists are already voting with their money, and they vote “NAY” when they can.
The map I submit to you shows that several hiking trails now in use would be closed if the turbines capture the ridgelines. Here are the best estimates of hiker tourists I have been able to come up with:
– 8000 bed-nights a year at the AMC Cardigan Lodge, per its manager
– 15,000 day hikers ” ,60-car lot.
– 12,000 ” at the Mt Cardigan State Park on the other side of the mountain, where the lot holds 40 cars but I observe it is usually full by 10 AM on a sunny weekend day.
All those 35,000 people pay the gas tax and rooms and meals tax etc.
I have asked people on the summit what they think of the Tenney Mtn windfarm they can see. 3/4 or more say they don’t like it. I then point out the ridges where other turbines are proposed, and they tell me they don’t like them either. Therefore I anticipate that dozens of turbines within two miles (Spruce Ridge) and several dozen more within 5 miles will chill hikers’ willingness to hike this mountain.
The tourists pay to see natural-looking wild landscapes hereabouts. Our economy depends on their willingness to spend money here. The proposed wind farms bring profits for their owners and losses for thousands of local residents. We need time to establish a balanced approach to finding a proper place for new energy sources.
Please pass sb99. Thank you.
From Craig Williams
RP Williams & Sons Inc. is a family owned lumber and building supply business in Bristol, NH. We have been supplying quality building materials to homeowners and contractors in the Newfound Region for over 60 years. RP Williams has been directly and indirectly responsible for many hundreds of jobs in the Newfound area. Newfound Lake and the surrounding towns have always been a strong economic draw for our business. After the past few years of national economic decline, we have been on the verge of a rebound in building and new construction. However, the threat of Wind Turbines on the ridges around Newfound Lake have had a detrimental effect on people considering building in this area. We have experienced actual cancellations in building plans directly related to Wind Turbine construction. This includes Groton Wind, (already operating), and builders and clients reacting to the possibility of further wind turbine projects recently proposed around Newfound Lake.
Construction of additional wind turbines will most certainly affect property values in this pristine region.
In closing, we feel the turbines will have further negative impact on our business as well as many others in the local area.
We ask your committee to support SB-99 granting a moratorium to allow a year for the state to undertake a comprehensive study of the SEC and their siting responsibilities. It is time to seriously examine and take into consideration the economic impact wind turbine projects are already having on our local businesses and economy.
Vice-President, RP Williams & Sons, Inc.
From Steve Bleiler
Good morning,,,,my name is Steve Bleiler. I am a 38 year resident of Alexandria. When my wife and I graduated from college we could have settled down anywhere, but chose the Newfound area believing it to be one of the most beautiful places we had ever seen.
We bought our Cardigan Mountain Orchard farm which needed extensive work in 1975. While having a 33 year teaching career, my wife and I restored the house, built 8000 ft of farm buildings, and cleared 25 acres of field.
We have been growing our current apple business to now have 1000 apple trees. Our three adult sons hope to take over this farm which is why we recently bought and restored an old country store in Bristol and we were planning on doubling the number of trees as well. Recently, our farm was awarded the New Hampshire Farm of Distinction.
The future growth of our hilltop business has been put on hold pending the outcome of industrial wind development in the Newfound, Mt. Cardigan region. That is why I am here speaking to you today. I am asking you to pass this moratorium on new wind farm projects. My three sons and their families are in a state of limbo knowing the expansion of our farm and country store, which up to this point has been steadily growing year by year, will be curtailed and start to decline. You might be thinking that is just our overreaction, however you need to know that 75% of my customers are tourists visiting Newfound lake and hiking the 50 miles of trails of Cardigan State Park and the AMC lodge which is one of the most popular fall hikes in NH. I found out about the first proposed wind power project in September of 2012 and at that time began to ask my customers how they felt about turbines 454‘ tall surrounding Mt. Cardigan and the lake. They said this would be terrible and asked why would they put them on the mountain tops of this pristine wilderness area??? One of these proposed projects will close down many of the state park trails. I believe this will be a death blow to the AMC and Cardigan State Park and the many tourist related businesses of the Newfound Lake region. It bothers me when they call industrial wind “wind farms” for no farmer I know would ever treat their land as these corporations do blasting and leveling the mountain tops.
Our vision is to provide as a small agricultural business quality local foods to our neighbors and visiting tourists. Like most farmers, it is not about getting rich, but rather taking pride in what we grow and see the customers enjoy and appreciate the “fruits of our labor”. I know that each of you here desire small businesses such as ours to thrive. I am concerned however that we are facing billion dollar companies pushing industrial wind who are all about making a profit dressed up in “green energy” packaging. The long range consequences economically to our area needs to be evaluated. May I ask you?? Where is the next industrial wind project going to assault another sensitive tourist economy based area? Mt. Monadnock, Mt. Sunapee, the Franconia Notch ridges? Lake Winnipesaukee, Squam Lake or our shoreline? Criteria has to be established for the proper placement of renewable energy facilities by the State and not by power companies.
As I delve into the workings of these corporations, and the way the power grid works many red flags go up. We need to intelligently look at the reality of all the consequences of the “green energy” movement. Please pass this moratorium to give our state a “time-out” so we as a state can decide what is best for New Hampshire and its people and not the unbridled foreign companies whose object above all else is to make a profit.
The New Hampshire senate will be voting on an important moratorium bill, SB 99 tomorrow in full session. This bill will put a temporary halt to the approval of any industrial wind turbine approvals in the New Hampshire western highlands region and also, as the original bill proposed, any new transmission line projects.
The original SB 99 as proposed by Senator Jeannie Forrester (R) and Senator Jeff Woodburn (R) would have contained language referencing not only the wind industry projects but also the Northern Pass transmission line project. As noted on our post of the 25th, Senator Jeb Bradley bowed to the wishes of PSNH and the near wholly PSNH owned Manchester Chamber of Commerce and removed language pertinent to Northern Pass from SB 99.
Tomorrow the Senate will convene and voting will commence on Senate Bill 99 [note this version online does not represent the version with the Jeb Bradley amendment as passed by the Senate Energy Committee which will be what will go before the whole Senate] as amended by Jeb Bradley, both Senator Jeannie Forrester and Senator Jeff Woodburn have amendments to return language to the bill regarding Northern Pass. It is imperative that everyone, particularly those in the southern and eastern regions of the state call their senators and make them aware of this issue. Please tell our Senators to support the amendments proposed by either Sen. Woodburn or Sen. Forrester.
NH Wind Watch is asking that people focus on their local Senator to educate them on the importance of this bill for the future of New Hampshire. We will be posting testimony that was submitted from different stakeholders for your further information. Please make yourself familiar with the wind power issue as the industry has told many myths and half-truths that are easily debunked with the facts. We have a summary for your reference here: Top Ten Myths of Wind Power Generation. For more information on Northern Pass, refer here to our heavily linked article of June 12, 2012, Northern Pass – Not the Option for New Hampshire.
Here’s a list of some claims the industry and their supporters are making against a moratorium and our answers to that:
1. A moratorium bill will chill business.
Answer: This claim falls down in the face of the truth that where there’s a buck to be made, there is a group ready to exploit it. Its cynical and almost silly to propose that there won’t be an industry ready at some point to exploit a potential dollar to be made. The moratorium will allow the state and the stakeholders on all ends of the spectrum time to develop better policy renewable energy development that balances community needs with concerning economic balance, the responsibility of encouraging conservation and how to develop green energy and most importantly, what defines green energy and how to meet the ultimate goal of reducing green house gas emissions.
2. The Site Evaluation Committee does not need to stop operations in order to improve them.
Answer: While Mr. Burack, the chairman of the SEC did testify that although he had made statements in the past that reflected concern for the number of applications now coming, he carefully back-walked on these statements and said that while the committee is overhwelmed, it can still function.
Many believe that this statement alone reflects the troubling conflict of interest inherent in the structure today of the SEC. The undo influence and pressure that the industry is able to put upon the SEC is relfected in Mr. Burack’s waffly testimony. The SEC currently is an all volunteer group, their membership is made up mostly if former or current bureaucrats from various energy agencies in the state. These people have a tendency by virtue of the nature of their jobs which entail continue communication with the energy industry, to have very comfortable and familiar relationships with energy industry professionals.
It is especially troubling to many that like many review agencies, stakeholders in the community do not have a place at the table, but instead are relegated to a reactionary role in the process and not empowered as equal partners. How this process has taken place is demonstrated by the very quick slide-through of the Jericho Wind Project in Berlin New Hampshire, wherein few if any members of the public participated, only a notice in the public notices section of the paper informed on the one public hearing. Jericho Wind was approved and the wind industry succeeded in evading the larger approval process because of the lax rules that exist today.
What is the motivation to continue on with a process that doesn’t work? What is the motivation to continue to put New Hampshire’s fragile economy at risk? What is the motivation to pass projects that will change the New Hampshire landscape forever? Possibly we’d want to take a lesson from our country’s past when it comes to listening to or allowing industry to decide what’s best for the planet and for a region?
Remnants of Virginia mountain after coal industry blasts for coal veins.
3. The only people against wind are ignorant NIMBY’s and tools of the Koch Brothers/coal industry.
The Sierra Club, 350.org and other national environmental organizations have worked hard to support wind energy as the easy alternative to coal. Unfortunately wind presents its own myriad problems including serious environmental threats to delicate mountaintop ecosystems. Land based wind has only an average 10% – 17% efficiency and thus can’t replace dependence on coal, oil or gas or even make a serious dent in use.
In addition, true conservation includes community empowerment. What is the difference between the global coal industry that grew up with the tacit support of governments ignorant of its effects in the beginning and now dependent on its income today? Do we want to develop a dependance on another form of destructive, poorly performing energy that will change our natural landscape forever? Have we not learned from our past mistakes?
The mere fact that the wind industry has support from major energy producers who currently rely on coal should send a strong hint that just possibly even they don’t see wind as a threat. Instead its another area to exploit for quick profits — communities and the environment be damned: business as usual.
Please call your Senator today and tell them to support SB 99 — particularly the amended versions that will put all new transmission line construction back into the bill.
We have word that the following Senators need particular attention:
Senator David Boutin – Concerned about renewable energy and following the RPS, asked the question, “So if you’re not for wind and solar hasn’t worked in forty years, what are you for?” This question needs your answer.
Senator Martha Fuller Clark – Senator Martha Clark has a strong history of environmental concern and has been sitting on the fence on this issue. Please call Senator Fuller-Clark and let her know that wind does not represent viable green energy and that disempowering communities is not the way to move forward on renewable energy development.
Senator Bob Odell – Mr. Odell claims confidence in the SEC process and also claims that his community has “learned to live with” the turbines in Lempster on Lempster Mountain. We’d dispute Mr. Odell’s assessment of wind as being something people must get used to, also there’s no doubt that a difference exists between 12 wind turbines on a hill top and residents being surrounded with as many as 75 wind turbines in all directions.
Tell Mr. ODell that industry will come after the moratorium and that the democratic process for the approval of wind and energy projects is broken and needs serious fixing. In addition, let Mr. ODell know that tourists don’t have to “live with” wind turbines — they can just choose to go somewhere else on vacation and those considering home purchases will consider other areas.
Call your senators now! If the Senator cannot be reached, talk to their secretary as also, see if you can get their cell number. Ask their aid where they stand on the issue.
Also, for further information you can talk directly to the sponsors of the original SB 99:
Senator Jeannie Forrester : Her office aid Liz in Senator Forrester’s Concord office is very knowledgeable and helpful as well. Senator Forrester comes from the Newfound Lake region and represents land owners and businesses that thrive and prosper on the pristine environment of the western highlands and Newfound Lake region.
Senator Jeff Woodburn: A man represents the largest district in New Hampshire encompassing Coos County and more communities than any other senator, Sen. Woodburn has been out in front in the battle against Northern Pass and joins the effort against the onslaught of the wind industry as well.
An email we received from the kind folks at Bury Northern Pass reference the moratorium bill, SB-99. Apparently the well known, avid hiker of the White Mountains, Jeb Bradley has decided that as long as he doesn’t have to live with giant high tension power lines in his backyard and he closes his eyes while hiking, he won’t have to see the results of his handiwork. Hey as long as you can notch off another peak and claim yourself a member of the 4,000 footer club, who cares if transmission lines spoil the mountain experience?
Because of course, getting the support of PSNH, NSTAR and Hydro-Quebec, three of the large corporate utility companies frothing at their mouths at the potential profit for Northern Pass, is more important than representing the poor little people of your state, amirite? According to the folks at DownWithTyranny, rubber stamping corporate agendas at the behest of the people’s interests and just generally being a corporate whore is nothing new to ‘ole Jeb.
SOMETHING’S ROTTEN IN CONCORD – A TRILOGY
POLITICS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE SINKS TO A NEW LOW! – PART ONE
The Alliance against Northern Pass
CRONYISM REARS ITS UGLY HEAD –This past Wednesday, March 20th at the State House in Concord, honest, transparent governance, what New Hampshire used to be famous for, took a back seat to cronyism. Jeb Bradley, a member of the Senate Energy Committee considering Senate Bill 99 slipped a decidedly underhanded maneuver past the public and his fellow senators on the Committee using questionable, disrespectful parliamentary procedures. In doing so, Bradley ignored the wishes of tens of thousands of Granite State citizens who wanted SB 99 passed in order to implement a one year moratorium to slow down the current breakneck pace of approving huge elective energy projects like Northern Pass and the proliferation of gigantic wind turbine fields. The moratorium, if passed, was designed to give our state’s regulators the time and resources needed to properly vet these projects. Our state needs to be sure that ALL optional energy projects, not needed to keep the lights on, truly provide a net benefit to New Hampshire’s businesses and residents, not just the energy companies’ stockholders, before they are given a green light by the state’s regulators.
WHAT’S AT STAKE? –It’s our state government’s obligation to make sure that the unblemished character of our state, especially north of Concord, so critical to our tourism based economy, is protected from an unsightly proliferation of wind turbines, power towers and cables that, once erected, will wreak havoc with the reasons why tens of millions of people come to visit our lakes, hills, rivers, mountains, and forests every year. Tourism and its many components make up our state’s largest single industry. Why mess up the beds we sleep in by destroying the magical nature of our surroundings that stimulate people to come here year after year after year? The notion of messing up our landscapes with projects like Northern Pass for no net benefit to our state is tantamount to sheer, utter lunacy.
THE “FIX” WAS IN –One purpose of this news release is to make as many people in New Hampshire as possible, aware of how certain politicians in Concord are doing business, but this article is also meant to reach the Committee that heard Senate Bill 99 this past Wednesday. Another objective is to call attention to the actions of one individual on that Committee, Senator Jeb Bradley, who was the person primarily responsible for the shameful performance that went on in Room 103 under the guise of being a so-called Committee Hearing. Apologies in advance to the rest of the SB 99 Committee members who were hopefully not complicit in the pre-planned deceit and subterfuge that was inflicted on those members of the public who drove many miles, perhaps hundreds of miles in some cases, to attend a hearing where there was no intention by Bradley from the outset to pay any attention to what the voters had to say because “the FIX” was in before the meeting ever started.
(Part Two of the Three Part Trilogy Coming Soon)
FOOTNOTE – The title to this trilogy, SOMETHING’S ROTTEN IN CONCORD, is a phrase lifted from Shakespeare’s, “Hamlet” in which Marcellus says, “Something’s rotten in the state of Denmark.” In modern days, the phrase has come to mean “things are unsatisfactory; there is something fundamentally wrong.”
From the very interesting and informative site, Stop Ill Wind, we put up here for your perusal the well researched and thorough answer to the wind industry’s claims about their wind power plants. In order to ensure that people will take the time to look through these, we have copied them here and linked each myth. This took a lot of time, but we feel it was worth the effort; the wind industry, like all industrial giants with making a buck in mind, have lobbyists and marketing professionals working for them full time, for good pay. A few hours assembling this for public information seems the least one should do.
It should be noted that although the writing focuses on wind turbine development efforts on the Northern eastern region from Maryland to Virginia and out to the mid-Atlantic regions, the similarities to the attack in New Hampshire cannot be ignored such as:
1. That the wind industry targets in-land areas with high ridge tops that are primarily low income and poorly developed economically.
2. That the wind industry depends on such government incentives as double depreciation allowances, tax credits and lopsided lease contracts with private land owners which shelter them from liability and also guarantee an immediate profit even if actual output is marginal long term.
3. That communities are promised income benefits, increased tourism and other glowing incentives which rarely materalize or are greatly exaggerated.
4. That the number of jobs created, like long transmission line projects produce over the long-term only a couple low-wage, subsistence level maintenance jobs, that almost all skilled labor is imported to meet machinery warranties and that all jobs (besides the one or two maintenance personnel) last only on average about six months.
5. That estimates and results of attitudes of potential buyers in areas affected to threatened with wind turbines decreases, causing damage to areas that all too often depend on their mountain top or ocean viewsheds for tourism and real estate dollars for local income.
6. That the environmental destruction wrought by the construction and placement of wind turbines, with their attendant easements and buildings interrupts natural habitats, causing serious damage if not death to delicate ecosystems and wildlife.
7. That wind turbines have a history of interrupting the flow of bird migration, especially pronounced when placed on ridgelines. That bat populations are decimated by wind turbines — so much that among ornithologists and others, serious concern about resulting species destruction exists.
8. That wind turbines have a history of creating noise, light and other nuisances, to the point where most turbine companies will put waivers in place in contracts with owners to avoid possible lawsuits regarding disruption to persons living near wind plants, within a number of miles.
There is more, please read on. The claims are similar if not exactly what residents and especially legislators have been told about wind power. It is important that people in all parts of New Hampshire become aware. Wind power is not green, will not reduce CO2 emissions nor can the wind industry provide support for its insinuated claim (they don’t even make the claim directly because they know its false) that wind energy does something to save us from the threat of climate change.
Although from March 15, this editorial by Nancy Martland deserves repeating in the “My Turn” section of the Concord Monitor deserves repeating in light of the controversy surrounding wind energy proposals in the western highlands of New Hampshire.
“My Turn: Let’s make state energy policy fair”
By NANCY MARTLAND
For the Monitor
Friday, March 15, 2013
A March 11 Monitor editorial, “Planning New Hampshire’s energy future,” stated:
“Above all, lawmakers would be foolhardy to grant cities and towns veto power
over state approval of wind farms and transmission lines.”
Really? Most people I talk to at first refuse to believe me and then are shocked
and outraged to learn that towns have no decision-making role in the state
energy regulatory process. Or that a Site Evaluation Committee permit preempts
all local ordinances and regulations.
The very idea that a state agency can permit a project over towns’ objections
while excluding them from participation in the decision goes outside what most
people understand as democracy.
It would be one thing if the process were perceived to be fair, but many argue
that the rules and process currently in place are stacked in favor of big
corporations and that the present system is fundamentally unjust. Why? Because
towns have no decision-making role and opposition therefore involves legal
action. Who is best suited to wage legal warfare, small towns with limited
budgets or big corporations who have fleets of lawyers at their command? The
term “railroaded” is especially apt, since the doctrine of preemption originated
with 19th-century railroad barons who did not want to deal with localities while
Surely the Monitor is not in favor of big corporations riding roughshod over
local communities that seek to protect themselves from damaging energy projects.
Surely some formula which allows affected towns a role in the decision-making
process is only fair. Surely the Monitor does not suggest that simply because a
project is proposed, it should be allowed to proceed even if the process is
unfair and a remedy is available.
Which is more important: a streamlined regulatory process or a fair shake for
Incidentally, the state of New York “changed the rules with the game under way”
by removing eminent domain when New York Regional Interconnect, a proposed HVDC
line similar to Northern Pass, was on the table. The project was withdrawn,
since it could not complete its route with taking land forcibly. Guess what?
Champlain Hudson Power Express was proposed soon thereafter. Anybody who thinks
Hydro Quebec will let a little thing like a rules change stop it from selling
the United States its power needs to pay more attention. It’s amazing how
adaptable businesses can be when there’s a lucrative product to bring to market.
The Free Staters no doubt are running for the proverbial Tylenol as they suffer their after-party hangover. Voters in Grafton sent a clear message to the Free Staters that their anti-government anarchism is not welcome or wanted. As reported on Wednesday, March 13th (yesterday) in the Valley News, voters in the town of Grafton roundly rejected the Free Stater attempt to take over their town by slashing their budget by 13%.
At the town deliberative session the spending cuts passed by only one vote (33-32). Those who watch the Free Staters and their antics may recall how the Free State Project adherents did everything short of dance in the streets and declare their colonization of New Hampshire near complete over this vote. Of course the natives took note and took up their ballot pens in defense of the town and culture they have built.
In other votes the town voted down the Wild Meadow Wind Farm proposed by Iberdrola, a wind turbine company out of Spain. Although this won’t stop the process of wind turbine approval, which is far more complex (involving the SEC), the town’s voters used the ballot box to express their lack of support for turbines on their highly prized ridgelines. The vote tallied 160 for the wind turbines against 366 opposed. This vote also sent a message that the town of Grafton questions the SEC approval process as it stands at this time.
For more information on the Wild Meadow Wind Farm proposal and its argument against the value of wind power generation in New Hampshire. We encourage all people to study wind energy generation, its return for energy consumed, the negligible to zero effect on reducing greenhouse gas production and most importantly and the environmental costs that result from the infrastructure development required for wind turbine placement.
In voting that wasn’t a surprise to most people involved closely in the issue of encroaching wind power and transmission line projects, the NH House Science, Energy and Technology Committee voted to retain most of the bills related to those projects.
Garnering the most controversy and attention lately was House Bill 580 that would have stopped all power infrastructure construction in the state immediately upon passage. Representative Rappaport requested an “ought to pass” on the bill with vocal support from Representative Khan, Representative Bradley and Representative Vadney. While Representative Babar spoke of reservations about the wording of the bill, but the most vocal resistance to the moratorium idea came from Representative Nicholas Levasseur. Levasseur seemed to speak a straight industry line, saying that the moratorium will “send a bad message” to businesses that New Hampshire is “fickle” in their support of business decisions.
Representatives Bradley, Khan and Vadney spoke in favor of the bill. While some said that they felt that retaining the bill for study over the summer will give the legislators time to consider the issue of wind power more carefully, many reps disagreed. Rep. Vadney said that prime New Hampshire areas, such as the Newfound Lake region are currently threatened with pending turbine construction that without a moratorium, could in fact come online very soon. He said that he has his doubts that without the moratorium there would be any way to stop such activity, “I worry it will be too late before we come up with an energy policy if we retain, important sites are under threat now.”
Rep. Bradley also weighed in on the issue, speaking from his military background saying that one thing he learned was the value of deadlines and also the value of delay, that when in doubt oftentimes a delay is the best option to avoid mistakes.
Representative Nicholas Levasseur made the final weigh-in, responding that the RPS (Renewable Portfolio Standard) mandate may not be met, that business will lose interest in investing in the state and that the SEC process will assure that delicate regions will not suffer damage or destruction.
All bills relating to the electrical power infrastructure in the state were referred to retention which means that the bills will remain within the committee for study. There was discussion of setting up a sub-committee to take on the task of doing more research on the issues that the bills bring up and formulating more substantial bills or one bill to handle these contentious issues.
The following is a summary of the bills and some of the discussion that went before related to electrical infrastructure development, specifically wind power and transmission lines. The respective votes up or down are listed as well. Each bill is linked for further information:
HB 166 – “An act requiring the public utilities commission to make specific findings as to the public need for proposed transmission lines.” Motion to retain – passed unanimous
HB 449 – “…requires the site evaluation committee to consider economic impact and findings and recommendations from local planning boards or governing bodies prior to issuing a certificate for an energy facility.” Motion to retain – passed with Rep. Bradley voting no
HB 484 – “requiring public approval prior to issuance of certain site evaluation certificates…” Motion to retain – passed with Rep. Bradley and Rep. Calli-Pitts voting no
HB 568 – “requiring new elective transmission lines in New Hampshire to be buried.“ Rep. Rappaport moved for “ought to pass”, Reps Khan, Murotake and Bradley voted yes. Rep. Nicholas Levasseur, Rep. Vadney and Rep. Pasteur urged a no-pass saying the issue needed more study. Motion for passage defeated.
Rep. Townsend made motion to retain the bill – passed with no votes from Rep Khan and Bradley
HB 569 – “requires that all electric transmission lines in the state of New Hampshire be placed within state transportation rights-of-way to the extent possible.” Motion to retain – passed, Reps Bradley, Khan, Murotake and Reilly voted against.
HB 580 – “establishes moratoriums on the construction of wind turbine plants and on electric transmission line projects until the state issues a comprehensive energy plan.”
Motion to retain by Backus who said, “I believe that issues that underlie this bill merit consideration and retention.” Reilly, the author of the bill said he supports retention to avoid a possible loss on the whole floor. Vote was taken, motion to retain passed with the following voting against retention: Rep. Khan, Rep. Rappaport, Rep. Vadney, Rep. Bradley. Rep. Babar made the general statement, “citizen input is important” possibly in reference to wanting to hear more from his constituents on the issue. Rep. Richard Levasseur wanted to know if the reference to power lines in the moratorium included Northern Pass or if it just referred to power lines related to the wind turbines.
HB 586 – “establishes a one-year moratorium on new and pending applications for certificates for electric transmission facilities.” Motion to retain – Rep. Khan, Bradley, Borden and Vadney voted against, motion passed.
At this point the committee will be in session tomorrow to discuss options such as setting up a sub-committee to work the bills. This is the time to call your representative in your area, to discuss the importance of preserving the western highlands of New Hampshire and the White Mountain region. The link below will get you to your representative. Also important is to talk to members of the committee that are on the fence on this issue and let them know how that you cannot destroy the environment in order to save it.