Fighting to preserve natural areas in the face of massive energy projects
One of the reasons that I am so enthusiastic about atomic fission is the fact that it is an extremely concentrated form of energy production. When all effects are considered, it often provides the very lowest impact on the environment because the amount of land affected is minimized, the amount of air and water pollution is minimized, and the amount of modification to the natural flows in the environment is minimized.
Considering all effects is also one of the reasons that I resist the notion that we should be using “all” available sources of “renewable” energy as well as nuclear. Since I consider myself a conservationist in the tradition of Theodore Roosevelt or Ansel Adams, projects like windmills on mountain ridges, hydroelectric dams in pristine canyons and tidal energy projects in large harbors do not seem like good ideas to me. Natural beauty and creatures other than humans have value and those kinds of projects do not just put the environment at risk of damage, they cause measurable damage and massive change. (In order to capture useful amounts of energy from natural flows, the projects have to be massive. If they are not, the amount of energy captured is vanishingly small.)
There are many people who agree and join together to fight such projects. Some of the ones that I am aware of include: Stop Turbines on Peter’s Mountain, Stop Wadlow Wind Farm, Klamath Dam Removal, International Rivers, Fishermen Involved in Natural Energy (FINE) and Surfrider Foundation.
Apparently, there is a new member to add to the list – FISH – Fishermen Interested in Safe Hydrokinectics. According to FISHing Group Forms to Address Wave Energy this group’s main initial concern is a Pacific Gas and Electric wave energy study project near Ft. Bragg. The group is worried about the effects that implementation of the project will have on their livelihoods, their natural environment and their recreational uses of the ocean. Here is a paragraph that will cause a few sleepless nights for the project developers, especially if they have previous experience with intervenors in power plant proceedings.
In her report on the forum, Ruffing said that the committee suggested PG&E and other developers establish a developer deposit account with the city. The account could be used by stakeholder groups for study efforts. She said the city could also be the entity that manages local efforts, also providing “nominal staff time” and a place to meet.
One of the strange aspects of American law is this concept of requiring an organization that is trying to build a project to fund groups that do not want the project to move forward so that they can have time to do research to support their visceral opposition. Of course, in this case I happen to agree with the people who have concerns, so maybe it is not such a bad law after all. (Grin)