Keweenaw needs wind power

To the editor:

I happen to think wind turbines are majestic, beautiful. They are certainly much better looking than cell towers or ruins. They are also necessary in a land where energy costs are high and that will never change without drastic measures.

Despite all the benefits and virtually no drawbacks, there are groups trying to prevent wind turbine industries in the Keweenaw, based on lies and misstatements of fact. The Keweenaw has a decades long history of making bad economic and social decisions. They cite “tradition” when what they really mean is fear of progress. They worry about damaging tourism, because they mistakenly believe that: 1) Wind turbines will hurt tourism and 2) That tourism is somehow going to “rebuild” the economy here. The people have been expecting that for 50 years and guess what? Tourism is never going to become a growth factor in this area. The tourism season is too short and the destination too remote (and I would add that no one here seems to learn the lessons of places where it actually works). I am not knocking tourism, and it matters to many small businesses, but the number of people who rely on it is relatively small, and the jobs created minimal.

This land needs industry, and it needs renewables — and since solar power is somewhat limited by our seasons (not entirely, but somewhat) wind is the logical choice. Why do we have no rails? Why does the bus stop half-way up? Why do we have very few good-paying jobs? Why do we have no prospects for growth? Because short-sighted people want to keep things “as they are.” Well, “as they are” has been a dismal failure for half a century! Are you still waiting for mining to come back? Really?

I read about a meeting coming soon where an “expert” plans to tell everyone why wind is bad. The theory is that it is bad for “residential development and the growth of tourism” —- two areas that will do nothing for the long-term economic health of the people here. What good is residential development when the wages are among the lowest in the country? Growth of tourism is not going to happen here. I give you 50 years of stops and starts and sputters and failures as evidence. Again, I point to the natural barriers to tourism growth, and the complete lack of success. The notice cites “negative health issues” and there is some evidence that living too close to any industrial generator can have dangers (which we have known for decades) – but fails to point out that there is much greater danger from that transformer on the pole outside your bedroom window – and that one large oil spill will decimate the entire area for years. But hey – let’s not worry about that, because it’s “tradition”, right?

Wind is a danger to fossil fuels, and a benefit to everyone else.

At some point people have to realize that the Keweenaw has been dying for decades, and this incessant obsession with keeping things as they are is part of that death.


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