Real reason for wind opposition is revealed here

From the beginning, when the Summit Lake Wind Project was first proposed to be built in L’Anse Township in January 2018, opponents have been active in trying to undermine it. That’s fine. It’s still a free country, and people have a right to express their views.

What is not right is the tactics and strategies of fallacy, exaggeration and deception this and associated groups have used in its discourse in the public marketplace of ideas. This has continued unabated even up to this day in the negative responses to our April 16 editorial in recent letters to the editor.

The editorial was “misinformed” in citing the previously published figure of $35 million in tax revenue, because, one writer claimed, the figure is now $22 million. What is the source of that deflated value? There is none, which invalidates the claim.

This writer is a member of the “Friends of the Huron Mountains,” the opposition group that is not a 501(c)(3) charity, so donations to it are nondeductible, but more importantly it is not subject to revealing who or what organizations are contributing to this “charity,” which is what it calls itself on its GoFundMe page.

So there is no way to check the backgrounds of who is backing these “friends,” as we did with the zoning “expert” the opposition early on enlisted from a fossil-fuel industry think tank.

This deception was exposed in this space, as well as the various other hypocrisies of the opposition, which also was joined by the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition. How a so-called environmental coalition can align itself against renewable energy proposed at the same time as a fossil-fuel power plant was being built in the same area is beyond hypocrisy.

There is no way to know how much (or how little) money has been collected, nor how much these “friends” are spending on propaganda projects like their so-called “view shed” map and “virtual viewer” of a wind farm on top of Mount Arvon.

This group enlisted Michigan Tech mapmakers and programmers for these projects. In trying to interview them to explain them to readers, they clearly are not comfortable in defending or supporting the products. Neither them nor the “friends” will say how much they cost.

So there is no explanation as to how someone sitting on a boat in Keweenaw Bay could see wind turbines through thick woodlands on top of a mountain more than a mile inland. A “virtual viewer” offered by opponents shows the site of tiny wind turbines on Mount Arvon from the village of Baraga, but this “virtual view” is with all the forest and all the ground vegetation removed.

Another letter from one of the opponents effectively accused us of a conspiracy in not reporting how the new fossil-fuel power plant was going to generate $1.5 million in tax dollars for Baraga County in 2019. Again, no source cited.

We did not report that because it’s not true — and we got that from James Fedie, the L’Anse Township assessor. It’s not even close to being accurate. The plant will generate $536,000 in gross tax revenue for the county in 2019, according to Fedie.

Leaders of the wind farm opposition have been deceitful and nontransparent from the beginning, when they visited the Daily Mining Gazette publisher’s office to lobby their position — off the record, of course. Their stated objection was its impact on tourism, which remains just as dubious now as it was then.

Throughout their entire campaign they have never truthfully stated the real reason for their opposition, which we’ll state right now, for the record, before L’Anse Township voters go to the polls Tuesday to vote on the referendum to allow zoning for renewable energy power plants. Two words jump out at anyone who glances at their web site: “Back Yard.”

Yes, folks, behind all the smoke and mirrors, inflation and deflation of facts, view shed maps and virtual viewers, all of which we objectively reported in our news coverage, in our opinion the foundation of the opponents’ position is: Not In My Back Yard.

A Daily Mining Gazette editorial