wind turbines

SOURCE: CAMPO TRIBE VOTES DOWN SHU’LUUK WIND

By Miriam Raftery

June 20, 2013 (Campo) – By a 34-44 margin, the Campo tribe’s General Council has voted against the Shu’luuk Wind project, a proposal to lease reservation land to Invenergy, according to  Donna Tisdale, Chair of the Boulevard Community Planning Group.  Tisdale indicated she has multiple sources on the vote outcome.

ECM  has contacted the Campo Band of Mission Indians to request comment on the outcome.

The project may not be  dead, however, as proponents hope to have another vote in the future.


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READER'S EDITORIAL: THE WIND DEBATE

 

By Supervisor Dave Roberts

June 13, 2013 (San Diego)--On May 15th, the Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance that establishes a rigorous process to install wind turbines. By a 4-1 vote, Supervisors agreed to strict guidelines. Our action did not approve a single, specific project.

My vote to adopt the ordinance came after much careful consideration.

As Dr. Dan Silver of the Endangered Habitats League said during his testimony, "wind energy presents a conundrum."

On one hand, I am very supportive of renewable energy to reduce greenhouse gasses.  On the other, I am concerned about the significant, unmitigable impacts of large wind turbines.


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WIND TURBINE COMPANY SUES WOMAN OVER PARODY

 

 

Activist who filmed removal of bald eagle nest by wind developer faces multi-million lawsuit

By Miriam Raftery and Sholeh Sisson

June 5, 2013 (Ontario, Canada) -- Esther Wrightman, the Canadian activist who documented Nextera Energy's removal of a bald eagle nest to make way for wind turbines, now faces a multi-million dollar lawsuit by the multi-national corporation.  Why?  Because she created a parody version of the company's logo which read "NexTerror" and "NextError." 

The company makes the bizarre claim that Wrightman's logo on a wind resistance blog could somehow confuse its corporate customers.  But supporters of Wrightman contend the suit's real motivation is to silence a strong voice of dissent.  Nextera also pressured Wordpress to remove the logos, but Wordpress has put the logos back up, finding that no law was broken.

View a video report from the Sun News Network in Canada with many details on this story:  http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/video/2434478593001


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WIND TURBINES, THE POWER OF DENIAL AND THREATENED ERADICATION OF A SPECIES

 

Originally posted Sunday, June 2, 2013 at San Diego Loves Green.

By Roy L. Hales

(Image left: Jim Wiegand, of Save the Eagles, sent me this amplification of an image from Google Earth with the explanation, “The blades hung out past the search area. They only looked in the cleared/gravel area around the turbine.”)

Some people are reminiscent of Old Testament Prophets speaking to a people that do not want to listen. While they may not speak in the name of God, they know something is wrong and dedicate their lives to righting it. Jim Wiegand has assumed that mantle in his defense of America’s eagle population. He sometimes uses words like “fraud” and “complacency,” which I find difficult to hear – we often underestimate the extent to which denial, lack of responsibility and hard heartedness guide decisions – but I am also beginning to wonder if they are appropriate. There are very definitely appear to be forces at work to trying stop us from making a conscious choice.


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PHOTO OF THE WEEK: WHAT'S MISSING?

 

 

May 27, 2013 (Ocotillo) -- When Jim Pelley arose at sunrise and looked out over the desert from his home in Ocotillo, he noticed something missing. So he grabbed his camera to record the unusual sight.

A Siemens wind turbine at Pattern Energy's Ocotillo Express Wind Energy facility had hurled off  a multi-ton blade onto a trail on public Bureau of Land Management recreational land.  Fortunately, since the accident occurred at night, nobody was harmed.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: SILENCE IN OCOTILLO

 

By Jim Pelley

Photos:  Red Tail Hawk at Ocotillo. Thank God the turbines were not spinning! – Jim Pelley

May 22, 2013 (Ocotillo)--It’s been (1) week now since the blade throw at the Ocotillo Wind overseen by Pattern Energy. Wow! What a difference, we forgot what it was like without these wind turbines turning; it’s a breath of fresh air. Not seeing/hearing the turbines turning weather they are generating power or not is a huge difference and now that they are not turning it reminds of some of main reasons we moved to Ocotillo.


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RESIDENTS OF OCOTILLO AND BOULEVARD SPEAK OUT, SHARE SAFETY FEARS AFTER TURBINE BLADE FALLS

By Nadin Abbott

(May 16, 2013 (Ocotillo) – “It’s scary, all the dangerous things that could happen. I don’t want anybody to get hurt,” said Michaela Woolley, 13.  She spoke at a press conference at the Ocotillo Community Center today, after a wind turbine at the Ocotillo Wind Express Facility dropped a blade the length of a jumbo jet plane.  

Fortunately nobody was hurt by this accident, though Miachela’s younger brother, Albert added, “It’s scary, the blade of the wind turbine could have landed in a house.” The boy said he also said gets constant headaches that make it hard to do his homework since the turbines were installed.


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OCOTILLO WIND TURBINE THROWS OFF MULTI-TON BLADE, PROMPTING WORLD-WIDE CURTAILMENT OF SIMILAR TURBINES AMID GROWING SAFETY CONCERNS

 

 

History of turbine/blade manufacturer Siemens is riddled with bribery, corruption, and other scandals

An East County Magazine special investigative report

By Miriam Raftery

Sierra Robinson, Sholeh Sisson and Jim Pelley also contributed to this report

May 16, 2013 (Ocotillo)—One day after San Diego Supervisors ignored residents’ safety concerns and approved a wind ordinance that would open much of East County to industrial wind turbines, a wind turbine at the Ocotillo Express Wind Energy facility hurled off an 11-ton blade. The blade, manufactured by Siemens, landed on a trail used by off-road vehicles.   The accident has shut down the wind facility pending investigation into the cause. View video shot by Ocotillo resident Jim Pelley:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7bpbQXfFOk

An investigation by East County Magazine reveals a dark history of serious safety hazards involving Siemens’ wind products as well as a corporate past that includes guilty pleas to corruption on a global scale, including accusations of bribery and other serious charges in at least 20 nations. 

Siemens contracted with Pattern Energy, a company with its own checkered corporate past, as ECM has previously reported, to build the controversial project on public land managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in Ocotillo and paid for with taxpayer subsidies.  Pattern's corporate predecessor also built the Kumeyaay Wind project in Campo, which blew apart in 2010, whirling blade parts over the area. All 75 blades on all 25 turbines had to be replaced; the project was off-line for months.


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BLADELESS TURBINE MAKERS CLAIM TURBINES COULD PRODUCE MORE POWER WITH LESS PROBLEMS

 

By Sierra Robinson

May 16, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – A new generation of bladeless wind turbines now in testing offers promise for designs that could reduce risk to birds, reduce noise, require smaller footprints and lower heights, thus less view disturbance.

For example, the slogan on the SheerWind website is “Changing the Course of Power Generation” and with the company’s new wind turbine design, it just might. Sheerwind began creation of a new energy technology three years ago, when founded by Dr. Daryoush Allaei. Since then, SheerWind has created a bladeless, funnel-shaped wind turbine that  it claims is a ‘revolution.’


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READER’S EDITORIAL: STOP POISONING OUR COMMUNITY! HERBICIDE SPRAYING IS WIND INDUSTRY’S TOXIC SECRET

 

 

“Pattern Energy is going to pollute what it couldn't destroy… Monsanto’s Roundup is an herbicde cousin  to Agent Orange--the defoliant sprayed in Viet Nam that harmed a generation of veterans and their children… This herbicide—a neurotoxin--is going to get carried downwind. Did Pattern fail to notice that there is still a community with children here in spite of its industrialization of the area with 112 turbines and a substation?”

By Linda Ewing, Ocotillo resident

Photo: Sahara mustard, a “weed” the BLM wants to eradicate with toxic herbicides

May 14, 2013 (Ocotillo) -- Herbicide Mitigation? What is that? I heard these two disturbing words and felt panic.

I knew instinctively that it was going to have something to do with this Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility because nothing good has come from this controversial project since the day Pattern Energy uttered its first words of deception to the town of Ocotillo. Since the day the company first tried to convince us that its massive 438 foot-tall industrial-sized wind turbines were good for the economy.  And yes, the very same day we realized that human lives were disposable and irrelevant in the statistical world of giant wind turbine developers.


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AFTER TURBULENT HEARING, SUPERVISORS POSTPONE ACTION ON WIND ORDINANCE TO MAY 15

 

 

“The Boulevard Marathon is like the Boston Marathon...[Residents opposed to the wind ordinance] are “like people with a pressure cooker and ball bearings with a bomb, trying to stop the projects…This is economic terrorism.” – John Gibson, Hamann Companies

“You should choose to save our communities, not destroy them—and I was not paid to come and talk today.” – Wendy Shannon, Boulevard resident and neighbor of Hamann’s proposed project

 

 

By Sierra Robinson; Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report

May 10, 2013 (San Diego)—After more than three hours of heated testimony on Tuesday, San Diego Supervisors opted to delay a decision on a controversial wind ordinance and changes to plans for two backcountry communities until May 15. The postponement came after a lawyer representing rural residents sent a last-minute letter claiming that approval of the project would be illegal.


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FIRE THAT DESTROYED $4 MILLION WIND TURBINE RAISES SERIOUS QUESTIONS OVER LACK OF REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

 

Wind company fails to call fire department, lets blaze burn overnight

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Tehachapi fire, 2012

April 27, 2013 (San Diego’s East County)—Why is there no federal requirement for wind farm operators to report fires? 

That troubling fact came to light following a turbine malfunction that caused a fire, destroying a $4 million wind turbine at the Kibby Mountain facility in Maine.  Opponents accuse Trans-Canada of a cover up, the Bangor Daily News reports. (Trans-Canada, builder of the project, is also the company seeking to construct the controversial Keystone Pipeline.)

A sensor in the turbine detected the fire. But an employee did not arrive on scene until the next morning, after the fire had burned itself out.  The fire department was never notified, nor was any state agency.  Had the blaze not occurred in winter with snow on the ground, the fire could have spread to the adjacent forest, a Maine forestry official has stated.

 ECM has asked Cal-Fire in an e-mail whether wind facility operators are required to report fires to fire officials.  No response has been received.


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EDITORIAL: AN ILL WIND BLOWING: SUPERVISORS SHOULD JUST SAY “NO” TO INDUSTRIAL WIND AT WEDNESDAY’S WIND ORDINANCE VOTE

 

 

By Miriam Raftery, Editor, East County Magazine

May 3, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) Updated May 7, 2013 – On Wednesday, May 8, San Diego County Supervisors will vote on legislation that could have devastating impacts across East County and the entire San Diego region. 

At stake is a proposed wind ordinance that could open wide vast tracts of East County for industrial wind development, putting residents across our County at risk of a catastrophic wildfire or deadly Valley Fever spores that can blow 70 miles or more.   There are many more reasons to oppose this ordinance, as well as the proposed gutting of Boulevard’s community plan, but these are two of the most compelling.  These and other disturbing facts are detailed below.

If you share these concerns, it's important to contact all five Supervisors.  It's especially important for San Diego residents to tell their Supervisors that you care about what happens to East County, since some Supervisors have shown an arrogant disregard for public health and safety outside of their own districts. Of course, a wildfire that originates in East County and burns into San Diego, or deadly Valley Fever spores that blow into urban areas, should clearly be of concern to all County residents and their representatives. You can contact Supervisors here and scroll down to learn more.  It's also important to show up and speak out at Wednesday morning's meeting at 9 a.m. at 1600 Pacific Coast Highway, Room 402.


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NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE COMMISSION DECLARES OCOTILLO WIND A SACRED SITE, ASKS ATTORNEY GENERAL TO WEIGH LEGAL ACTION

 

“I really want to say `Dismantle it and give the land back to the tribes…I’d like to ask the Attorney General to…give this commission more teeth so we could say `Tear that wall down.”  -- Commissioner Marshall McKay

View video highlights by Paul Kruze: http://youtu.be/nS93BfT6juI

  (For full unedited videos, scroll to bottom of this story)

By Miriam Raftery

April 26, 2013 (San Diego) – At a hearing in San Diego on Monday, members of the state Native American Heritage Commission heard several hours of emotional testimony from Native Americans who contend that the  U.S. Bureau of Land Management ignored their  concerns and its duty to protect a clearly documented sacred site and cemetery in the fast-tracked approval process for the Ocotillo Express Wind Facility.

By a 4-0 vote, with the remaining commissioners absent, the NAHC voted to grant requests by Viejas and Quechan tribes to declare the 12,400 acre Ocotillo wind project site a sanctified Native American  sacred site.  Further, the commissioners voted unanimously to ask California Attorney General Kamala Harris to research if legal action can be taken.


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LAWSUIT SEEKS INJUNCTION TO HALT TULE WIND PROJECT IN MCCAIN VALLEY

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 13, 2013 (Boulevard) – Iberdrola’s Tule Wind project has been slapped with a federal complaint seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. The lawsuit was filed by two nonprofits in San Diego’s Rural East County, the Protect Our Communities Foundation and Backcountry Against Dumps.

If built, Tule Wind’s phase I would include 67 turbines on federal land, each nearly 500 feet tall in rugged McCain Valley, a federal wildlife management and popular  recreation area. Additional turbines are planned on adjoining state, tribal and private property. Turbines would be close to campgrounds and homes in rural Boulevard, a predominantly low income community in East County where numerous other massive-scale energy projects have already been proposed. (See map showing cumulative impacts.)

 “Eastern San Diego County is targeted as a rural sacrifice industrial energy and transmission zone without benefit of equal protection under the law,” said Donna Tisdale, also a plaintiff in the suit.


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BILL WOULD LET ENERGY COMPANIES REMOVE NESTS AND EGGS, EXEMPT COMPANIES FROM PENALTIES FOR KILLING EAGLES, HAWKS AND OTHER RAPTORS

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 9, 2013 (Sacramento)—Wildlife experts are reacting with outrage to AB  516, a bill in the California Legislature that would  allow energy and utility companies to obtain “take” permits authorizing destruction of birds, eggs and nest that stand in the way of electrical transmission infrastructure. 

SDG&E  was caught flying helicopters too close to protected eagle nests at least four times during construction of Sunrise Powerlink.  Those incursions in three East County locations resulted in removal of one pilot and suspension of others, as well as grounding, GPS tracking and other regulatory enforcement actions. But if this bill goes through, such activities could occur without penalty in the future.


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ARE ENERGY PROJECTS CAUSING LOSS OF TOURISM DOLLARS ON PUBLIC LANDS?

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 9, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) –Industrial-scale energy projects on Bureau of Land Management lands are pushed through by energy companies touting jobs and economic booms to communities. Not mentioned is the potential loss of tourism revenues if people stop coming to recreational areas that are visually blighted. That’s been a fear voiced by residents near McCain Valley and Ocotillo, both scenic public recreation areas where wind projects are slated or recently completed.

Now preliminary data from the Bureau of Land Management reveals a 12% drop in the number of visitors to the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreational Area over the past year. Sunrise Powerlink construction was completed in June 2012.  Is the loss of 72,275 visitors due to the  massive high voltage towers that dune buggies and other off-road enthusiasts now must dodge in the desert?


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RESEARCH TEAM STUDIES WIND TURBINE SYNDROME IN MANZANITA TRIBAL MEMBERS

Over two-thirds of study participants report chronic sleep deprivation and breathing disorders

 

By Billie Jo Jannen

A special report for East County Magazine

March 5, 2013  (San Diego’s East County)--A university research team that specializes in studying health and social challenges of minority populations is now focusing on quantification of reported illness among Manzanita tribal members who live along the row of wind turbines erected five years ago by the neighboring Campo tribe.

Lead researcher Arcela Nuñez-Alvarez, Ph.D., of the National Latino Research Center said the numbers, so far “…show some trends that I think deserve more attention.” Preliminary numbers in the small population being studied show that 68 percent of the households are suffering from chronic sleep disorders – an oft-mentioned complaint of people who live near turbines – and the same percentage reported respiratory problems.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: HIDING THE SLAUGHTER

“…Killing rare protected species was a crime at both the state and federal level. So with the help of government agencies, the industry went to work stripping and changing environmental laws…”—Jim Wiegand

By Jim Wiegand, wildlife biologist

February 25, 2013 (San Diego's East County)-- In 1984 the California Energy Commission made the following statement in their Wind Energy Program Progress Report., "The development of wind energy in California has been very rapid, and the foundations for a significant new domestic energy industry are in place. As should be expected however, with any fast growing industry using a new technology, there are many institutional, engineering, environmental, and economic issues which must be resolved before the industry is secure and it growth assured."  


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DEVASTATION RESTORATION? QUESTIONS RAISED ON ADEQUACY OF REPLANTINGS AT OCOTILLO ENERGY PROJECT SITES

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 18, 2013 (Ocotillo) – As mitigation for major projects including Sunrise Powerlink and Ocotillo Express Wind Facility, energy companies were required to mitigate damage by restoring vegetation.  But now residents and some environmentalists are raising criticisms over the level of restoration efforts put forth by Pattern Energy and SDG&E.

 

 

 

 


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OCOTILLO RESIDENTS ARE SEEING RED OVER LIGHT AND NOISE ISSUES

 

Developer failed to provide system that keeps lights off except when planes approach

By Miriam Raftery

February 11, 2013 (Ocotillo)--Why are Ocotillo residents being subjected to 94 turbines each with red lights flashing all night long into windows of homes?  View videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0AHA7u4AurQ , http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vP7OeAP58So


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GARGANTUAN WIND TURBINES TO DWARF CURRENT MODELS

 

February 1, 2013--The German company, Siemens, has built new turbines twice as big as its older models for offshore wind production – so big that a special ship had to be built to carry the giant blades. Even larger ones loom on the horizon. 

Several companies are designing 10- and even 15-megawatt machines with 100-meter blades.


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READER'S EDITORIAL: THE LID HAS COME OFF THE MORTALITY AT WIND FARMS' COVER UP

A summary of the latest news on bird/bat mortality at wind farms

By Mark Duchamp, Chairman, World Council for Nature

"New studies reveal ... that in the United States alone ... wind turbines kill an estimated 13 million to 39 million birds and bats every year” (there are about 39,000 wind turbines in the US)

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/dec/22/big-wind-tax-credit-exterminates-endangered-specie/?page=all#pagebreak

January 31, 2013--The worldwide slaughter of birds and bats by wind farms has been confirmed by biologist Clive Hambler, who teaches at Oxford University:


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SHOULD SHU’LUUK WIND BE BUILT IN EAST COUNTY? HEARINGS JANUARY 29 AND 30 IN ALPINE AND CAMPO

Federal comment period now open for Enviornmental Impact Statement;

SDG&E also seeks approval for power lines tied to project without environmental review or public  hearing

By Miriam Raftery

January 14, 2013 (Campo) – The Campo Indian tribe has proposed to lease a portion of its reservation to Invenergy LLC for  an industrial energy project, Shu-luuk Wind.  The project would include 85 wind turbines, each approximately 500 feet tall, on tribal lands near the rural communities of Campo and Boulevard.  The project study area  of impact spans over 4,700 acres; the developer claims a project footprint of 900 acres;  many new miles of roads  and power lines are also proposed.


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ACTIVE EAGLE NEST REMOVED TO MAKE WAY FOR WIND FARM

 

Similar fate could await eagles in path of Iberdrola’s Tule Wind project in East County

By Miriam Raftery

January 20, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Wildlife protection groups and residents have reacted in horror to the removal of an active bald eagle nest by a wind developer in Canada, an event documented on video January 5, just weeks after a photo of the active pair was taken at the site.

Now ECM has learned that the environmental documents filed by Iberdrola Renewables for its Tule Wind project in McCain Valley would allow SDG&E to “remove all existing raptor nests” prior to construction.


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WIND INDUSTRY BREEZES INTO SAN DIEGO FOR CONFERENCE

By Miriam Raftery

January 16, 2013 (San Diego) – Wind industry professionals and government leaders gathered at the Hilton in  La Jolla-Torrey Pines for a four-day conference sponsored by the American Wind Energy Association January 14-17.

On opening day, a Regional Wind Energy Summit-West was held focusing on on demand and challenges in the region, as well as new opportunities for wind energy developers in the western United States ranging from corporate clients and point-of-use projects to repowering older wind farms. 


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ARE WIND TURBINES WEARING OUT FASTER THAN THE INDUSTRY PREDICTED?

By Miriam Raftery

January 10, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) -- How long can we expect wind turbines built in our region to last? It’s a key question, since early wear and tear can sharply reduce efficiency, sticking ratepayers with hefty electricity bills. Now, a new study of 3,000 wind turbines finds that they are wearing down faster than manufacturers expected. The study, which claims to be the largest of its kind, examined both onshore and offshore turbines operating between 2000 and 2001.


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FINANCIALLY TROUBLED IBERDROLA SELLS OFF SOME ASSETS, BUT RETAINS TULE WIND PROJECT

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 9, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Spanish utility giant Iberdrola Renewables still plans on “going ahead with Tule Wind” in McCain Valley near Boulevard despite a string of financial setbacks, Paul Copleman, media relations spokesman at Iberdrola USA, told ECM. 

Iberdrola, the world’s largest operator of wind farms, sold off $1.1 billion in assets in 2012 to reduce its staggering 32 million euros of debt as the company's Standard and Poors Rating teetered just above junk bond status.  Assets sold included 32 wind farms in France to GE. 

 Iberdrola also divested itself of some natural gas assets and  in the U .S., Energy Network, Energetix and NYSEG Solutions. In addition, the company has has quietly abandoned efforts to pursue at least one U.S. wind project and potentially more. 


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READER'S EDITORIAL: VISIT MCCAIN VALLEY WHILE YOU CAN STILL ENJOY IT!

By Laurie Baker

December 4, 2012 (McCain Valley) -- This is a warning for those who escape to Cottonwood Campground in McCain Valley for a tranquil and refreshing experience to explore the Great Outdoors:  Your days of enjoyment are numbered.   Wind turbines will soon be invading the area just like the ones in Ocotillo.   The Sunrise Powerlink already obliterates the natural beauty along parts of the 13-mile dirt road to the remote campground.    Building 450-foot tall wind turbines a little more than 1,000 feet away from it will completely destroy its appeal altogether.  


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READER’S EDITORIAL: TELL CONGRESS-- DON’T RENEW TAX CREDITS FOR INDUSTRIAL WIND PROJECTS

By Terry Weiner, Desert Protective Council

November 23, 2012 (San Diego)—There is a real danger that Production Tax Credits (PTCs) for industrial wind projects will be extended. They are due to expire at year’s end, but Congress may vote soon on a proposal to extend those credits. Extension of PTCs could be surreptitiously attached as a rider to the upcoming congressional budget bill. 

If you want to protect our mountains, deserts, scenic and rural areas, wildlife and Native American cultural sites, please join me immediately in asking your members of Congress not to renew tax credits for these large-scale projects remote from places where the energy will be used.

There are much cleaner, less destructive, more efficient ways to meet our nation’s energy needs!


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

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