‘Thanks to greedand ignorance’
Large-scale wind turbine arrays, like the one near Windfall and those planned for Howard County, cause significant harm to wildlife, people and the environment. In return, because of wind’s low density, intermittency and high variability, they do next to nothing for reducing carbon and other emissions or dependence on other fuels.
There is no return on the massive outlay of taxpayer money. Furthermore, any electricity generated, and it’s a small amount, goes into the grid and on up to Michigan and perhaps Vermont. Howard County residents realize no reduction in their light bills, tax revenues are paltry, lasting jobs are not created, and no gain comes to anyone except those in on the deal.
So, how are the wind turbine arrays being proliferated? Public ignorance, of course, is the primary seedbed. Huge government subsidies and unbridled graft make them a gold mine for the schemers.
Why do farm field owners and zoning boards become surrogates to the scam? Maybe, like the character in the story “The Devil and Daniel Webster,” they don’t consider all the ramifications to the deal. Nonetheless, landowners, farm field owners, who are either incredibly ignorant or inhumanly greedy, or both, accommodate this boondoggle. Their participation is absolutely essential to the deal.
And who knows what leads zoning boards to approve these schemes with only the scarcest of public notice? But they do, and ours has. The parameters for turbine placement were set against express wishes of neighboring homeowners who will be the collateral damage.
Agents for the wind turbine companies work under a “cover of darkness.” And, one can only guess at the array of unreported incentives, enticements (possibly even “bribes”) proffered by the agents. They look at Howard County’s GIS maps, determine the owners of farm fields who might accommodate wind turbine placement, wheedle a lease out of them, a lease that doesn’t have to be reported or recorded, and written so the landowner can’t back out, can’t reverse the deal, can’t run the devil off when it’s time to collect the soul, and the scheme is all set up for launch.
Then one morning the neighbors wake up, stretch and yawn, look out the window, and a bunch of windmills are being erected all around them. Their residential property values fall to pennies on the dollar and now, in a field of whirring (when they work), blinking, ugly windmills, the quality of their once-bucolic existence has been forever ruined.
All thanks to greed and ignorance.
(Adapted with permission from a letter by David Templeton of Huntington County.)
Ritz must endeavor to better cooperate
State Board of Education members, including Superintendent Glenda Ritz, participated last week in a strategic planning meeting and an orientation session led by national consultants. Optimism over board progress made with the help of these consultants diminished quickly when Superintendent Ritz walked directly out of the board’s public orientation to hold a press conference accusing the governor of yet another attempt to usurp her authority. Her claim is based on an old email from Oct. 3, mined from a closed DOE email account previously belonging to a current member of the governor’s staff. The email consisted of draft recommendations for reorganizing the governance structure of the state board. Such recommendations have been rejected by Gov. Pence, which he had personally conveyed to Superintendent Ritz the previous week.
The recurrence of unsupported accusations by Superintendent Ritz must stop. She routinely casts aspersions against her fellow board members. These include allegations of secret meetings, violations of Open Door law, and her most recent claim of an “improper” motion that involved a board resolution I drafted to evaluate Common Core standards that she would later characterize as “illegal.” Not surprisingly, her accusations are unsupported and fail to pass tests of legal scrutiny. In fact, an attorney general legal advisory opinion requested by the superintendent affirmed the legality and appropriateness of the very resolution she claimed to be improper and illegal.
Perhaps of greater concern than unsupported claims is the absence of leadership as chair of the state board. Completion of tasks such as the evaluation and adoption of standards, state assessment development, issuance of school letter grades, and revisions to Indiana’s A-F accountability system have been compromised by the lack of adherence to established meeting procedures and basic meeting rules that govern decorum. As an elected leader, Superintendent Ritz has the opportunity and the obligation to cultivate harmonious relationships that contribute to the responsible governance of Indiana’s K-12 education system. Leadership efforts to develop greater collegiality and cooperation would be most welcomed.
Dr. Brad Oliver