Nesbitt + Queen = Double Down Dumb

Another post covered the important issue of wind power recently, but now the deal is done. Martin Nesbitt and Joe Sam Queen, two Democratic Senators from the mountains, apparently don't have the sense god gave a box of animal crackers.

At the urging of some mountain senators, the state Senate Finance Committee added the restrictions to a bill moving through the General Assembly that will shape where windmills are allowed to be built statewide. Wind-energy advocates say the change will cripple efforts to harness the power of gusts along peaks.

“It's horrible. They just banned wind,” as a source of energy in the mountains, said Crystal Simmons, a Newland resident and Appalachian State University student who manages a project that has erected a 150-foot windmill on campus.

But WNC Democrats like Sens. Martin Nesbitt, of Asheville, and Joe Sam Queen, of Waynesville, argue rows of windmills jutting hundreds of feet above ridges would devastate views.

“It's not just the tourist trade,” Nesbitt said. “It's our whole culture.”

You want to see culture devastated? Just watch the continuing destruction of forests and habitats from carbon pollution and acid rain, not to mention condos and golf courses.

With short-sighted Democrats like these calling the shots, North Carolina might as well be run by Republicans.


They just don't get it

An ill wind comes arising
Across the cities of the plain
Theres no swimming in the heavy water
No singing in the acid rain
Red alert
Red alert

North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

Flipping out over Big Fans?

No doubt the two idiots would be against Waterwheels, because they flip the fish to the shore!

Not only North Carolina

There is a similar controversy in New Hampshire pitting the energy, the AT hiker, and tree-hugging wings of the environmental movement against each other. The issue there is a proposal for wind farms on Franconia Ridge.

The issue is one of selection and environmental protection of sites; wind farms come with access roads, buildings and other development that can be messed up like any other development. There are radomes and FAA towers and other development already in the mountains that can offer some lessons of what to do and what not to do.

It's time to start looking at the details of where to build and where to restrict instead of passing blanket legislation. For now, Nesbitt and Queen are erring on the side of restriction, which at least allows for thinking through the environmental issues.

Their arguments for their position are important (aesthetics) but not the best arguments they could have made. There is enough time and growing experience in the wind energy field to get the details right before development.

There is a similar argument that is going to arise if coastal winds are ever going to be tapped as energy sources. Not as pressing because having turbines that can survive hurricanes is still an issue.

50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

Nesbitt apparently has no sense of irony

“The members of the General Assembly all came together,” he [Nesbitt] said, “and said, ‘We've got to stop this madness of destroying the tops of our mountains.'”

I called his senate office and asked if he had ever heard of mountaintop removal mining.

Note that this issue isn't quite done--it only made it out of committee. It seems kind of unlikely to me, but in theory it's possible for this to be stopped in the House, in the full Senate, or by veto.

I don't get this at all.

Especially in light of this.

“I also think we ought to let cities and counties to elect local ordinances that govern these types of things, I don’t think the state should have an umbrella ordinance for clotheslines…we just can’t legislate everything,” said Sen. Malcolm Graham.

you should know...

...that this is not nearly as simple a proposition as it seems.

i am a huge supporter of wind...but there is indeed a big-time impact on views.

here is a photo of the altamont pass project in california. these are old-school towers, and the newer designs are much "cleaner" visually--but the new turbines are also three times taller than the ones you see here, making each tower roughly the same height as a 30-story building.

blanket bans are not helping anyone, but you should realize that the folks who will be looking at these every day are probably mistrusful of local and state government's ability to thoughfully regulate these sites--especially if duke energy is the one promoting the siting.

here is an excellent primer on issues related to siting...and if you want my advice, you need to find a way to help the folks in those western counties develop some confidence that they will actually be able, in a serious way, to regulate the projects that will be coming their way. (by the way, i might throw a little patriotism and "help fight the a-rabs" in there to help the argument along.)

once these things go up, they ain't coming down--and if you don't trust the planning process, it makes a blanket ban, no matter how poorly thought out, seem more reasonable than it might be otherwise.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

Blanket ban

Linus would be upset with that threat!

Seriously, it would have been much better to amend the legislation with a one or two year moratorium expressly designed to establish standards that would regulate siting.

i absolutely agree...

...and get local folks on that siting committee from day one--and convince local folks that they can have a major voice when the rules are made as well.

as i said, i'm not there on the ground...but i'll bet that a lot of this is an issue of trust, and if that's true, that trust has to be created before this can move forward.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965


If they are so worried about the views, perhaps they should be informed that with new digital technology, they can photoshop those lovely windmills, standing proud and free bastions of liberty from foreign oil and potential domination, right out of their pictures!

you gotta be a little sensitive here...

...and keep in mind that for people who live in the mountains, the views have a lot to do with why they live there.

to put it in perspective, try to imagine the response if it was proposed that windmills be installed along the couple of miles of barrier islands stretching from buxton to avon.

now as i noted above, i agree with you that an appeal to patriotism is one way to get this done...and offering a lower rate on power as a "mitigation fee" would certainly be another...but that said, i live in the mountains of washington state, and a proposed 200-foot cell phone tower created a lot of opposition because of its impact on the view, so a development of numerous 300-foot tall windmills would, by its very nature, be a tough sell in the community.

i have no doubt that the same is true in western north carolina, and getting the affected communities "bought in" will require a different approach than "from now on, take pictures of the view and photoshop out what you don't like".

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965