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Click to see a simulation of the proposed wind plant atop Backbone Mountain in Western Maryland
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Notable Quotes


"Renewable energy (hydropower, for example) can have horrendous impacts on fish and wildlife. But I can think of no proposed project more devastating to fish, wildlife, and the local economy than plunking a wind farm in the middle of Nantucket Sound."

—Ted Williams, Audubon Magazine (May 5, 2004).

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# 10. Those who are concerned about windpower are not true environmentalists.

The facts demonstrate otherwise. Notable environmentalists such as Robert Kennedy, Jr. and Chandler S. Robbins have studied the issue and urge that wind technology be carefully evaluated before implementation decisions are made. Many are mindful that the claims for windpower mirror those made one hundred years ago for hydroelectric dams, another clean, renewable power source now known to be environmentally devastating. One should note especially that John Muir used his newly found Sierra to protest the destruction of the Hetch-Hetchy valley viewshed by a hydroelectric dam—because he so valued the vallye's aesthetic qualities.

Today, the dean of American ornithologists, Chan Robbins, is outspoken in his concern for placing thousands of wind turbines along the Allegheny ridges, which are well known for hosting billions of migrating songbirds. The American Bird Conservancy's Michael Fry has testified before Congress about the threats to especially vulnerable species of wildlife. Bridget Stutchbury, a Canadian ornithologist and author of the recent book, Silence of the Songbirds, has called for an end to industrial wind projects on the mountains of the East. And Donald Heinzelman, the noted raptor specialist from Pennsylvania is organizing efforts to protect key mountaintops in his state, New York, and Maryland from industrial wind development.

An environmental group, The Center for Biological Diversity has sued twelve windplant companies to stop the slaughter of eagles, hawks, and owls at Altamont Pass in California. Moreover, because of the many thousands of bats and birds killed at a recently constructed windplant atop an Appalachian ridge, Congressmen Alan Mollohan and Nick Rahall of West Virginia have called for a windplant moratorium in their state, while the governor of New Jersey has mandated a moratorium on wind along the Jersey shore to prevent unintentional harm to wildlife and the viewshed.

Other environmentalists urge construction of smaller scaled, locally distributed wind projects that pose significantly less risk to wildlife, habitat, viewsheds and property values. This should not excuse, however, wind prospectors who seek to place a few 400 foot tall wind turbines on their property merely to obtain tax credits. Such prospecting is at best unneighborly and insights civil discord. Many environmentalists also point out the similarities between factory farms and contemporary industrial windplants, and note how the size and scale of each corrupts the economy, diminishes the ecosystem, and blights the landscape.

What all these environmentalists have in common is a concern that deployment of massive, irresponsibly sited windplants poses unacceptable risks to much they hold dear, with correspondingly little benefits. See Notable Quotes.

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