The politics of wind

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a report today on 341 energy projects around the nation that the chamber says have been delayed by red tape (and are often opposed by environmental activists). The chamber’s website lists sixteen projects in New York State. It’s interesting that six of the sixteen are wind projects, including the proposed Adirondack Wind Energy Park near Gore Mountain.

Wind is usually seen as a clean alternative to burning fossil fuels, but even many environmentalists object to constructing giant turbines on rural landscapes. Just this morning, North Country Public Radio aired a story about the controversy over wind farms. Click here to listen.

The Adirondack Council opposes the wind farm near Gore, saying it would endanger birds, disturb wildlife, and mar the view from the Siamese Ponds Wilderness.

The chamber touts the economic benefits of the project: “According to the Barton Group, the project would create 60 construction jobs and then three or four jobs in the operation and maintenance phase. A project spokesperson said that the project may seek federal grants and might obtain stimulus dollars. As of February 2009, Adirondack Wind Partners and the Barton Group are working on a permit application and have completed a visual analysis and a bird and bat radar study, but they have ‘more work to do before they seek approval.’ Adirondack environmental groups are worried about the potential impact of the turbines on birds and wildlife in the area as well as their visual impact.”

Click here to see a state-by-state list of the projects.

About Phil Brown

Phil Brown edited the Adirondack Explorer from 1999 until his retirement in 2018. He continues to explore the park and to write for the publication and website.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Paul says

    At some point folks are going to have to make a choice. Do they want BP drilling in the gulf or do they want to look at wind turbines? It is NO to oil drilling, it is NO to gas drilling, it is NO to nuclear, it is NO to coal, it is NO to hydro power, it is NO to wind, it is NO to large solar arrays……

    They have some valid concerns here but this has a lot to do “with not in my back yard”. Look at the Kennedy’s and the Cape Wind project. Personally I would think that developing better, smaller wind turbines for individual site use is maybe a better long-term solution. But that isn’t going to work in an urban setting where many people live and much of the power is consumed so we have to do something.

    NO is not an energy policy.

  2. Paul says

    Plus like that one politician said these things will suck up all the wind in an area and you won’t have any wind!

  3. JoyceT says

    You should note that the Explorer early on took an editorial position opposing the Adirondack project. Also worth noting is that the Adirondack Council stated in the GF Post Star that one of its objections was the worry that the wind towers would tumble (whirligig)end over end down the mountain in a possible earthquake, presumably endangering public safety when they reached the populated area some miles away at the bottom of the mountain.

  4. RationalandLogical says

    Sounds like the environmentalists are the group of “no”.

    Here is the thing about energy…a coherent and comprehensive policy is needed and should be split in three ways, short-term, mid-term, and long term. Furthermore, it needs to be inclusive, nothing should be off the table. Maximize our oil resources in the short-term, drill in Alaska, drill in the Atlantic shore (near and far), maximize natural gas production, while at the same time make bio-generated fuels more cost competitive. Maximize use of wind and solar and geo-thermal. Perfect and make convenient access to retro-fitted existing homes for small scale wind and solar. Lets get on with it!!!!

  5. Paul says

    “Also worth noting is that the Adirondack Council stated in the GF Post Star that one of its objections was the worry that the wind towers would tumble (whirligig)end over end down the mountain in a possible earthquake, presumably endangering public safety when they reached the populated area some miles away at the bottom of the mountain.”

    Joyce were they serious? That is the most ridiculous thing I have head lately. I have always thought that the AC was out there but this is just insane if it is true.

    If you make that statement you cannot be taken seriously when they try and raise what might be legitimate concerns. Maybe they are mostly concerned with preserving the view of many of their second home owning members?

  6. JoyceT says

    Paul,

    If you are asking were they truly believers in the statement they made, – probably not. But they were certainly seriously attempting to frighten and alarm the public. Quoted in the January 24th, 2006 issue of the Glens Falls Post Star, John Sheehan, Adirondack Council Communications Director : “The Adirondacks are in a reasonably active earthquake zone,” he said. “We don’t know what 400-foot towers would do if they started to whirligig down the mountain.”

  7. Ed Milner says

    And it is not really the backyard of AC membership. Having visited the proposed Barton site these objections are completely nonsensical.

  8. Wayno says

    The Adirondacks are a park so ANY kind of large scale development deserves to be questioned, the criteria for building inside the blue line should be strict. Normally I would support building wind mills anywhere but this one should be studied and I definitely believe that we do not want windmills popping up all over the Park. A strong case can be made for allowing one or two wind farms in areas where they will have a minimal visual impact. The idea of ‘whirly gigging” windmills careening into peoples houses sounds absurd but I worry about what happens if the builders decide to abandon these monstrosities for some reason? Then who pays for removal, or do we just let them sit there and rust?

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