Wednesday, September 15, 2004

bush blowin wind

energy nerds like your humungus are expecting to hear more and more talk about wind power in the years to come; wind makes sense environmentally, and is quickly becoming more financially competitive. If congress ever gets around to passing the broadly popular, bi-partisan supported Production Tax Credit again (it expired this year and is being held hostage, like many other reasonable steps, to the otherwise dreadful ANWR-bearing energy bill).

interestingly, along comes news that the bush administration is pushing wind energy in california. Not with tax-breaks or market incentives of course, but with their old favorite: ‘streamlining’. To help boost this(wind energy development) further, the Bush administration wants to streamline the time necessary for obtaining rights-of-way on federal land. "A wind turbine right-of-way permit application takes between 18 and 24 months, Watson said. She would like to reduce that to about six months. "

streamlining is, of course, almost always code language for ‘utterly gut effective, tested, and publicly popular environmental and public health regulatory processes and replace them with business-friendly rubber stamps.’ in this case, it refers to regulations in place to address the concerns listed in the article about wind tower/bird collisions. these regulations are intended to ensure that wind farms aren’t sited in high-volume migratory pathways (like Altamont), and have the full support of most wind advocates.

president bush seems to have mastered a policy of finding solutions by ignoring problems. if president bush was remotely serious about promoting wind energy, there are a dozen things he could do that would have more significance. undermining environmental regulations should be last on that list.

- LH


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