Reasonable Energy Policy Blown Away in House

The Industrial Wind Action Group just sent along a press release on the emerging monster of a House energy bill and a recent change affecting – you guessed it – wind power. Just in case the text doesn’t make it clear, the IWA folks are, shall we say, skeptical of expanding industrial wind power. The organization that represents the wind power industry itself is the American Wind Energy Association. Now, on to the press release:

Industrial Wind Action (IWA) Group responded today to legislative maneuverings by Congressman Markey (D-MA) that replaced provisions in the Rahall Energy Bill (H.R. 2337) pertaining to wind power – in Subtitle D.

According to Lisa Linowes, Executive Director for IWA, the draft wording proposed by Congressman Rahall would have established uniform standards for wind energy development to protect our wildlife heritage. IWA praised Congressman Rahall (D-WV) for all his hard work in recognizing and trying to prevent adverse environmental impacts of utility-scale wind power.

But Rahall’s efforts were undermined by an aggressive campaign launched by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), Sierra Club, and others. AWEA’s unjustified claim that the Rahall provision would render wind energy illegal in the U.S. provoked a media frenzy and vicious public attacks on Rahall. “Most disappointing,” Linowes said, “was the willingness of Representatives Markey (D-MA) and DeFazio (D-OR) to parrot the wind industry’s alarmist assertions about the Rahall bill.” She added that by voting to accept the Markey amendment, the House Natural Resource Committee members turned a blind eye to the expert testimony presented at the May 1 oversight hearing that detailed the current and growing cumulative impacts of wind turbines on bats and birds.

The IWA is correct, of course, about wind turbines slicing and dicing birds and bats. And it’s not just their members who are questioning new wind developments – some prominent environmentalists have done the same. Of, course, it’s often for slightly different reasons.