TLP: It's Not Easy Being Green. But A Check For $5,000 Helps.
Turns out that clean energy is not all about the altruism. Acceptance of the downside of new technology, it seems, sometimes comes easier with a little of the green everybody likes.
The NYT reports from Oregon:
Residents of the remote high-desert hills near here have had an unusual visitor recently, a fixer working out the kinks in clean energy.You have to hand it to the power company. Instead of handing out checks, the company could just roll the dice. Seems that although Oregon has regulations that restrict the noise from wind turbines, the state office that enforced "industrial noise" laws was disbanded two decades ago.
Patricia Pilz of Caithness Energy, a big company from New York that is helping make this part of Eastern Oregon one of the fastest-growing wind power regions in the country, is making a tempting offer: sign a waiver saying you will not complain about excessive noise from the turning turbines — the whoosh, whoosh, whoosh of the future, advocates say — and she will cut you a check for $5,000.
“Shall we call it hush money?” said one longtime farmer, George Griffith, 84. “It was about as easy as easy money can get.”
Mr. Griffith happily accepted the check, but not everyone is taking the money. Even out here — where the recession has steepened the steady decline of the rural economy, where people have long supported the massive dams that harness the Columbia River for hydroelectric power, where Oregon has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in tax incentives to cultivate alternative energy — pockets of resistance are rising with the windmills on the river banks.
Residents in small towns are fighting proposed projects, raising concerns about threats to birds and big game, as well as about the way the giant towers and their blinking lights spoil some of the West’s most alluring views.
“We have the regulations still on the books, and entities are expected to comply with those regulations,” state environmental agency spokesman William Knight told the NYT. “But there really isn’t anybody from D.E.Q. going around to find out if that’s occurring. I’m not sure who you’d call out there in Columbia Gorge.”
Unless the residents want to ask for another check. In that case, call Patricia.