Wind Power Greed

Timlynn Babitsky | Issues: Strategies & Tactics | Thursday, September 11th, 2008

by Timlynn Babitsky
The North Country is a chronically distressed region of poor farms, few opportunities, little money, and big wind. Dangling the lure of many good jobs and bushels of tax revenue, modern day carpetbaggers have descended on this region, and upstate New York is squarely facing its rock and a hard place.

It is true. Family farms are in trouble. Manufacturing jobs are disappearing. People are hurting. And, wind power development could really help the region. But in town after town, some residents claim that unscrupulous wind farm developers have brought corruption and intimidation along with their promises of financial reward.

With visions of desperate locals, supportive state subsidies and high oil prices, some wind farm developers pursue the quickest means possible to acquire enough land to make their wind farms a reality. By bribing local officials to get permission to build wind towers, colluding among developers to avoid competitive wind option leases, and shutting down discussion in local town meetings they paint a dark picture for wind developers everywhere. And, they divide small towns into bitter adversarial factions.

“It really is renewable energy gone wrong,” says Franklin County district attorney, Derek P. Champagne.

There is no question that wind power in this region has the potential to make positive changes for many who live here, but the ends should never justify the means.

Read The New York Times story here: In Rural New York, Windmills Can Bring Whiff of Corruption.

Make sure you do your homework on the wind developer behind your community wind project early rather than too late. Battle lines draw quickly if you do not keep seeking that Win-Win Sweet Spot.

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