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Varying arguments

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A few weeks ago I wrote about the regional reaction to the proposed Lava Ridge wind power development in the northern Magic Valley, and suggested much of the outrage against it was based on cultural animus against energy production approaches like wind power – that is, a “liberal agenda”.

My intent was to spotlight the regional political reaction, the way the crowd response to the proposal took hold there. But that could easily be understood as arguing that everyone came to the same position on the issue in the same way, and for all the same reasons, that all minds were in lockstep, and that’s surely not the case.

That point underlies a number of responses I received, and the point was made in various ways.

The best of the replies – and arguments against the wind proposal – came from Roy E. Hubert, a Lincoln County Commissioner. Here’s what he said:

You wrote:

1. You can’t imagine opposition to a large CAFO if it were to be built here. The truth is that a huge CAFO was built here in Dietrich and it went into litigation. We didn’t want it either.

2. All three county commissioners signed a resolution stating that we are opposed to the Lava Ridge Project.

3. You mentioned I was flat against it right away. At first I said “Why not build these towers?” Then I did my due diligence and researched about these towers. I have traveled to places that have wind power towers around them. The only ones that were in favor of them were the people who had them on their property and receive monthly checks for having them on their property. All the others hated them, saying they were noisy, ugly, people were having health problems such as headaches because of them, they were losing sleep because of the noise and lights flashing. The company that built them would not hire local people to work, but brought in their own employees.

After further research about how ineffective and undependable that these wind farms were, and how they can’t run except on government subsidies, I decided this would not be good for our area, and now vote 100% against it. People in our area don’t want them around and ruining our habitat for wildlife, hundreds of dusty roads that will be driven on every day by huge trucks, very annoying flashing red lights 24/7 on top of these huge towers (over 750 feet tall) , the noise coming from over 400 of these towers night and day, and limiting our use of the desert for recreation, cattle grazing, and hunting. You don’t realize how many different animals live out in this desert. To name a few: antelope, deer, elk, coyotes, badgers, several kinds of rabbits, bats, hawks, golden eagles, owls, rattlesnakes, sage grouse, and various birds. Do you honestly think they will stay around these towers?

Let’s give the people that live in this area some credit! There are enough facts out there for them to do their own research and come up with intelligent answers as to why they are against it. There are hundreds of pages out there to research. Many are the same pages the BLM have in their files.

There are, of course, responses to the commissioner’s response. (No doubt the company proposing the project has some.)

But my main reaction comes to this:

I still think the cultural and political atmosphere had a lot to do with the reason for the large and fast – wildfire-like – public response; you rarely see that kind of reaction, whether on the political left or right or elsewhere, on the basis of policy arguments alone.

But that doesn’t mean those policy arguments don’t matter or that they’re not part of the mix for individual people – in different ways for different people. I have some confidence in reading trends but not in reading individual minds.

Thanks to Commissioner Hubert and my other respondents for the reminder of that.

 

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