This eye opening opinion comes to us from Cynthia Hardy Wadsworth, founder of The Mountain Ridge Protection Alliance
Why Does Appalachian Voices Support Mountain Top Removal for Wind Turbines?
It is difficult for me to understand why so-called environmental groups that are against mountain top removal by the coal industry would turn around and support the same for wind turbines? Are they not aware of what they are supporting? Appalachian Voices and their wind shill, Austin Hall are not alone, as Avram Friedman with the Canary Coalition, Appalachian State University, and Duke University are in favor of commercial wind turbines in the mountains.
By blasting away at 3000 feet and above, do they think of how this degrades the water resources? How about storm water drainage and run off?
Look at what they are supporting. Maine Drilling and Blasting carefully discloses what it has had to do for wind turbine sites located at over 3000 feet. From their web site: http://bit.ly/9IOI3g Please note what I have placed in BOLD lettering for emphasis.
SCOPE OF WORK:
Forty-four wind turbines on the boundary of mountains with roads and foundations across two ridgelines, 10 miles into the Maine woods. Foundations for these towers require MD&B to install 616 rock anchors. This infrastructure is an alpine climate unique to this elevation of 3,000 feet.
Road construction to fill-in valleys often utilizes rock from the next peak. Drilling and blasting for these remote peaks requires equipment, material, and crew across valleys of industrial forests with steep terrain. Between weather and rugged terrain, it takes extraordinary efforts to achieve 5,000 cubic yards of rock blasted every day for fills in the valleys.
The team met the challenge by blasting through huge topographical features to create both the material needed and the grades required. Rock anchors for the foundations are designed with a larger diameter anchor than previously utilized. Testing these anchors to 679,000 lbs has proven the bond passes all PTI specifications.
Does it not concern these groups that they are supporting blasting away the “HUGE TOPOGRAPHICAL FEATURES” of our mountains, in other words the features that are unique and treasured? The same would be done in North Carolina on our highest ridges. They could be blasting up to 5,000 cubic yards of rock every day to make the roads and fill in the valleys. Do they not understand that this is the reality of placing community or commercial wind turbines on mountain ridges?
Then there are the roads that are required, as we do not have 50 to 60 foot wide roads running through our mountains! The Crane is 32 feet wide! The road blasted was wider.
From their web page:
SCOPE OF WORK:
Thirty-eight wind towers accessed with 9 miles of road. This road provides access for the erection crane that travels 32 feet wide and 250 feet tall as it moves from tower to tower.
- To design a road that worked with contours and allowed the crane the appropriate grades and radii.
- Install competent rock bolts for the foundations with their huge wind loads and marginal geotechnical conditions.
The team met the challenge by blasting through topographical features to create both the material needed and the grades required. The foundations were accomplished with the highest capacity solid rock anchors available.
In my opinion these environmental groups are hypocrites. They are speaking out of both sides of their mouths. What is the reason? What is it worth to them? In the case of Appalachian State University, it is about money. Through a freedom of information act request, a grant worth thousands of dollars was found that was given to ASU from Acciona, the wind industry giant. This is the same company that wants to install wind turbines in Mitchell County, NC. It is interesting that professors Scanlin and Summerville applied for this grant on May 25, and it was awarded on May 29th. These professors have been asked repeatedly if they have received funding from the wind industry, and they have said no. The grand total for grants for wind for Appalachian is over a million dollars. ASU’s Chancellor, Kenneth Peacock, and other upper crust at ASU had copies of the grant from Wind Industry giant Acciona. (proposal 20070242)
Lastly, it is important to note that Acciona’s representative Blayne Gunderman, who was seated next to ASU professor Scanlin at a wind forum in Spruce Pine, NC, in November, stated that there would be “no blasting” in placing wind turbines on mountain ridges. These people are so desperate, that they do not tell the truth.
It appears that our mountains are being “sold” and that if we are not careful, we will end up with the same battles and ridge litter, as states like Maine. We have to protect our mountains from Mountain Top removal associated with Wind plants and from groups like Appalachian Voices and Appalachian State University and the Canary Coalition. These mountains are not for sale. The Senate did the right thing with Senate bill 1068 in allowing residential wind permitting but not allowing commercial/community wind industrial plants. Wind is not about energy and the only thing green about wind energy is the green of money. We need to work to see that the NC House continues to protect our mountains with house bill 809.