It seems that with every passing day, every edition of The Times Argus, the anti-wind folks get more and more hysterical in their letters and commentary. And the Times Argus gets further and further away from practicing responsible journalism. Each day the newspaper presents us with more commentaries attacking wind — and none supporting it.
Any independent newspaper has the right to print whatever they want, to support any issue they so choose. But a good newspaper uses the editorial honesty to at least present the other side as well. There is no such thing as balance that some call for in print and electronic journalism, nor can there be. As a life-long liberal Democrat (and I have reached the stage where that is pretty long) I generally agree with most of The Times Argus’s point of view. But certainly not on wind.
Part of the problem is the growing hysteria, the diatribes, the misrepresentation and false pretenses of the wind foes. One recent commentary claims that wind power will “destroy wildlife habitat, kill bats and eagles, pollute our headwaters, fill valuable wetlands, polarize our communities, make people sick, mine rare-earth minerals.” Anything else? Maybe cause hangnails?
It goes on and on. The usual “talking points.” You know them, they’ve been blathered across the newspaper’s pages daily: “blowing up our mountains”; “cancer-causing”; “stripping our forests”; “industrialize our wild spaces” and so on. They go through rhetorical contortions that a pretzel manufacturer would love.
Another frequent claim is that “study after study” shows that wind turbines “makes people ill.” Mysterious “studies” are often mentioned, except they never tell us what studies, carried out by whom. I haven’t seen or heard of peer-reviewed scientific studies making such claims. If opponents want to claim studies to back up their (often fanciful) assertions, then they should the cite specific studies and the scientists (with their affiliations) carrying them out. Anyone can say they have made a study of this or that; I could, but it wouldn’t have much validity.
Finally, in this Sunday’s edition (Feb. 17, Times Argus), a commentary by Lukas Snelling that at least tries to sound reasonable (a rarity in this debate), calls for a “time out” (that lurking moratorium) on wind projects “so that we can resolve ridgeline wind’s uncertainties and study the impacts.” As if wind-power was a new thing Vermont just invented? Hardly. I recall visiting a wind project on Prince Edward Island in Canada more than 20 years ago. Wind power has been made use of for decades; indeed, for hundreds of years.
There are wind turbines all over Europe. Even us old crocks grew up reading about Dutch windmills when we were children, and — believe it or not — they were in use long, long before that. And as far as I know, human life has continued to exist. When you want to kill something, initiate a “study.”
Come on, Times Argus, use a little bit of journalistic and editorial integrity in choosing your commentators. Filter out the nutty ones and the tired “talking points.” They just cloud the issue. Give us reasonable, sensible arguments, not junk pulled out of the wind.
Edward C. Day
East Montpelier Center
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