Criminalizing Wind Energy

By May 31, 2007Energy, Global Warming

A energy conservation-minded blogger picks up on NAM President John Engler’s testimony last week before the House Natural Resources Committee. Wind advocates are energized against a provision in H.R. 2337 — Chairman Nick Rahall’s energy package — that would severely limit development of wind turbines. The American Wind Energy Association characterizes several troubling provisions in this release:

  • Stall all new wind projects until Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) rules are issued and require FWS certification of every turbine
  • Require all existing turbines, even small residential units, to cease operating 6 months after issuance of new FWS rules until they are “certified,” an unwieldy bureaucratic process applying to many thousands of turbines that, again, will take years
  • Make it a crime, punishable by a $50,000 fine or a year in jail, to construct or generate electricity from an unapproved turbine, even for home use
  • What is it with criminalizing everything these days?

    Anyway, the blog post notes Engler’s statement in his written testimony:

    The National Association of Manufacturers believes that a comprehensive approach toward energy leads to the logical conclusion that the United States must diversify its sources of energy. Wind energy should be part of this mix. The new certification requirements of this section of H.R. 2337, however, would bring wind energy development across the United States to a halt, this despite the fact that the National Academy of Sciences has concluded wind turbines cause less than 0.003 percent of human-caused bird mortality. Furthermore, the broad mandate directing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to review every existing and planned wind project is far beyond the agency’s resources and capabilities.

    Excess regulation and unnecessary criminalization are hardly the way to encourage increased supply of anything, energy included.

    Join the discussion 2 Comments

    • Olivia Williams Knott says:

      Ah, Nick Rahall. He hails from a state where the tops of mountains are exploded–and their remnants allowed to contaminate local rivers and streams–to provide ready access to, you guessed it, coal. The West Virginia Congressman’s efforts to cast himself as a champion of the environment is both ironic and ludicrous.

      Wind is the real deal. It’s 100% clean, inexhaustible, cost-effective and reliable. Coal is the problem; wind is a big part of the solution.

    • Joe says:

      Does Ted Kennedy count as a wind source.