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EDITORIAL: TELL SUPERVISORS TO JUST SAY “NO” TOMORROW TO TULE WIND & OTHER DESTRUCTIVE ENERGY PROJECTS




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Contact all supervisors through the links below

Supervisors' hearing 9 am Wed., 1600 Pacific Coast Highway downtown

By Miriam Raftery, Editor

August 7, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)--Please join me today in taking action to preserve the character of our communities, the beauty of our region, and the safety of people across San Diego County who may be imperiled by another horrific wildfire.

Tomorrow at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, August 8, San Diego Supervisors will be voting on the first big wind project in our region. Tule Wind would erect turbines 450 feet tall with blade spans the size of football fields –machines with a high fire risk and health hazards to area residents and wildlife—in one of East County’s most scenic and fire prone areas. If allowed, other industrial wind projects will soon follow.

Supervisors are also voting on a cross-border Sierra Juarez transmission line to bring wind power from an environmentally destructive proposed project in Mexico, as well as substation in East County that would enable more massive-scale energy projects in our region.

I oppose this senseless and dangerous destruction our scenic mountain, desert and rural communities for industrial-scale energy projects which are owned by giant multi-national energy and oil companies. Engineering experts have calculated that San Diego can easily supply more energy for less money through rooftop and parking lot solar without this devastation.

Wind turbines pose high fire risks for our region. A wildfire in Riverside last month started with a wind turbine that malfunctioned.  So have many other fires.  Turbines also attract lightning, another fire source.  In McCain Valley, a narrow single-access entrance to designated wilderness areas and campgrounds, this could prove deadly.

These projects also pose very serious health problems to residents, endanger wildlife, and desecrate Native American cultural resources.

Here are two letters I’ve sent to our Supervisors that outline many of the serious concerns:

Letter 1 - fire and safety hazards
Letter 2- serious concerns about the wind industry and its impacts

Below are their email addresses. I encourage you to send your own letters today and to show up tomorrow morning at the San Diego County Administration building to testify as well. This may be among the most important votes our Supervisors will ever be asked to make in terms of its massive and irreversible impact on East County.

To: ron.roberts@sdcounty.ca.gov, greg.cox@sdcounty.ca.gov, dianne.jacob@sdcounty.ca.gov, pam.slater@sdcounty.ca.gov, bill.horn@sdcounty.ca.gov
Cc: adam.wilson@sdcounty.ca.gov, Michael.DeLaRosa@sdcounty.ca.gov, Dustin.Steiner@sdcounty.ca.gov, Sachiko.Kohatsu@sdcounty.ca.gov, Gabriel.Gutierrez@sdcounty.ca.gov, Mark.Slovick@sdcounty.ca.gov
 

These guys are crooks

I have seen every conceivable argument and tidbit of propaganda justifying wind energy from every corner of the world and there is one element that is nearly always overlooked. Regardless of the energy source and the arguments, no one should ever condone the fraud that has carried this industry for decades. With this industry, there never has been a level playing field. If the public insisted on proper mortality studies the results would be staggering.

I having looked over a multitude of studies, reports, and surveys generated by the wind industry. I can tell you these guys are crooks. San Diego Supervisors need to be talking about collusion and criminal behavior first because this should override everything in their decision making process. So how could they ever possibly make a proper decision about any of this when they have been fed a pile of lies.
They also need to be thinking about the hidden cumulative impacts caused by this industry because dozens of species are destined to be annihilated by the wind industry. Species that are not high profile and that most have never heard. I am talking about birds that are never seen hanging around any Wal-Mart parking lots. Those like the Least Bell’s Vireo or the Egyptian Vulture.

Tribe's attorney letter to counsel on Tule Wind

This letter shows how tribal concerns have been ignored by County officials.  The search dogs, incidentally, are trained to find ancient human bones. Their training includes 5,000 to 8,000 year old bones and the dog must alert on all during a test session within one foot.  Finds are confirmed with a second dog. The state of California's Parks Service has used the dogs to find hundreds of ancient remains in a ghost town.  I would like to know on what basis the County rejects the dogs -- inconvenience?  I have been to a demonstration and seen these dogs in action, the only team in the world trained to find ancient human remains.

Dear Hon. Supervisors,

This letter is sent on behalf of Carmen Lucas, Kwaaymii Laguna Band of Indians, regarding her continuing concerns on the proposed Tule Wind Project. Ms. Lucas also respectfully disagrees with several of the characterizations and conclusions made in the summary of SB 18 consultations in the staff report (Attachment M). Please include this letter and its attachments in the administrative record for the Project.

First, the Project’s cultural resource review remains incomplete in at least two significant ways.

County staff has relied upon a flawed EIR/S. Both the BLM and the CPUC failed to thoroughly assess and mitigate impacts to cultural resources, most notably tribal traditional cultural landscapes and ancestral human remains. The EIR essentially defers the study and mitigation of such impacts to after project approval, and after additional studies have been completed. By the time this occurs, the damage will be done, the landscape forever altered and the opportunity for mitigation through avoidance past. Impacts to these resources should have been studied prior to project approval. Further, recent guidance from the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (see, attached document, dated July 2012) confirm that these landscapes are indeed an historic property and that archaeologists cannot speak to their importance unless they have been authorized to speak on behalf of tribes, which has not occurred here. The mitigation measures in the EIR remain inadequate to the scope of the impacts the Project would cause to tribal cultural resources and culturally-affiliated tribes, and must be augmented.

County staff apparently has decided to unilaterally reject the use of historic human remains detection dogs, despite their having been effectively used in our region from the coast to the desert and despite that the cultural impacts of the Project have been increased due to proposed undergrounding of the transmission line. Experienced and respected cultural resource professionals agree that specially-trained dogs are an important tool and do not false alert in the manner referenced in the staff report. (See attached letter, August, 2012, from Lynn Gamble, Ph.D., Professor of Anthropology at UCSB). The specially-trained dogs are also a culturally-appropriate (non-invasive) method to detect human remains and grave goods and should become a standard tool at the County. However, your staff have out of hand rejected their use within the Project area, and relying on only one form of "validation" (excavation). The result is that if the County approves the Project, it has not used all feasible means to avoid significant impacts to cultural resources.

Second, the Project’s SB 18 consultations were started late, well into Project development (November 2011, around the time BLM approved the Project) and were not completed. Moreover, County staff cannot unilaterally conclude that mutual agreement with tribes cannot be reached. The tribes gave the County specific additional feasible mitigation measures to lessen the effects of the Project. Such measures were rejected by the County without providing an opportunity for the County and the Tribe to meet face-to-face to discuss staff’s views.

Through this and other projects, it has become clear that your staff and County Counsel need direction from the Board to come into compliance with SB 18 requirements. County Counsel has recently cited that the County Administrative Code section 375.8 bars the ability of even one or two Supervisors from being a part of SB 18 site visits or consultations with tribal leaders. It is our view that pursuant to state statute and the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research’s SB 18 Guidance, that direct accessibility between decision makers and tribal leaders must occur so that true consultation can occur. My client and other tribes were denied the opportunity for meaningful consultation on this Project due to the County’s interpretations of its Code. The County must revisit the conclusions of its County Counsel, such that tribes have the ability to directly convey sensitive cultural and religious concerns to at least a subset of the Board outside of the public hearing format and in a timeframe that affects project outcomes.

In sum, the County should reject the proposed Project in its entirety, due to the unacceptable impacts to tribal traditional cultural landscapes which cannot be mitigated. In the alternate, it should reject the wind towers on County jurisdiction land for the reasons stated above.

Very truly yours,

Courtney Ann Coyle

Attorney at Law

 

Wind Energy

I can't agree that wind turbines constitute such a devastating effect on the environment, especially when compared to the nuclear facilities. Given the disaster at Fukujima Japan's nuclear facility, I would think that we'd stand behind any alternative energy source, particularly clean renewable energy such as wind and solar provide.
It should be understood and accepted that wind turbines will obviously have to occupy some area but whether we need to resort to labeling that "desecration" is another matter. It smacks of 'over the top" hyperbole with as little substance as the claim of "serious health problems" to the residents. Additionally, the RPM of those slowly turning propellers shouldn't present any real danger to wildlife.
The chance of a serious fire resulting from either malfunction or lightning strikes is an unlikely event since the area designated for these towers is devoid of trees.
I'm a bit surprise at this strongly worded opposition to an effort that, to my mind, we should be wholeheartedly supporting. Tom C.

You're not educated enough on the issue, Tom.

20 million acres of public lands alone are targeted for wind, land that was supposed to be protected for public use and enjoyment. In McCain Valley, this means blasting away the very boulders that made the place spectacular. 

I do stand behind a clean alternative to nuclear:  rooftop and parking lot solar.  Solar panels have dropped from thousands of dollars to just $238 at last month's international trade show that our reporter covered.  It is now cheaper to meet San Diego's energy needs with rooftop solar than to build industrial wind facilities. There is no question that rooftop solar is by far the more environmentally friendly technology. I also support vertical axis, smaller scale wind turbines.

"Desecration" is the term used by multiple Native American tribes who hired forensic dogs to identify burial sites of their ancestors, and there are also artifacts and sacred sites on some of the wind projects locally.  Their religious beliefs consider disturbance of these sites "desecration."  I would never whitewash or rather "greenwash" the project by minimizing tribal concerns.

As for serious health problems, it has occurred at numerous wind farms around the world. Read more at these links:  http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/node/10463 and http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/node/9425; the latter has many links.  In addition, locally the Manzanita Indians are ill with disturbing symptoms. They had an epidemiologist, a medical doctor who has authored 100 peer reviewed studies, take measurements and he found ground current/stray voltage in their homes, tribal hall and church that were 1,000 times normal.  Measurements that high elsewhere have been linked to a doubling of childhood leukemia and other problems.  The company that made the turbines on that project is a partner of Iberdrola's; Iberdrola owns a 19% interest in Gamesa.  Our county whitewashed its so-called healthy report. How can you conclude that turbines don't make people sick, when you refuse to even mention the Indians who are ill--and with symptoms serious and unusual enough to be accepted into a CSU San Marcos health study?  How many places around the world do you need to see the same symptoms, to see people abandoning homes, to believe it?  My mailbox is full daily with people who live near wind turbines telling me their horror stories. Some fled their homes.  Others were ill and recovered after finally moving away. Some hide in their basements to escape the pain, the noise, the medical issues.

Where do you get the idea the place in McCain Valley is "devoid of trees?"

Here are several photos of trees in McCain Valley. The first is an old-growth manzanita tree. The second is a campground with pine trees.  The third is Cottonwood Campground, so-named for the obvious: big cottonwood trees surrounding the camp.  Who is the uninformed person here?  The wind industry only shows off photos of lifeless looking places - not the beautiful areas it will destroy. There is a LOT that can burn out there, including dry brush and grasses at the other end of the canyon.

As for chances of a lightning strike being "remote" -- apparently you're unaware that last week alone, in a single day we had 600 lightning strikes in East County!  On a day where firefighting resources are spread so thin, we don't need to attract lighting to an area where fighting a fire would be difficult and where people are camping nearby.  Lightning is attracted to the tallest structure around. With a hundred or so wind turbines each 456 tall, where do you think that lightning is going to go?

 

 Supervisor ____, Your

 Supervisor ____,

Your decision tomorrow regarding the Tule Wind Farm project will likely be the most important one you ever make about our beautiful, yet rapidly vanishing backcountry. Thousands of pristine acres covered with five hundred foot wind turbines, each with a propeller spans the size of  a 747!? Never in my worst nightmare did I ever--could I ever!--imagine such a horrific fate for the land. These projects (which are little more that Solyndra-like exercises in progressive political vanity) will, as we all know, do nothing to curb America's "carbon footprint." What they will accomplish, however, in addition to desecrating our wilderness, is ruin the lives of local residents and waste billions of tax-payer dollars. 

Both San Diegans and county dwellers have always treasured our stunning natural geographic diversity--ocean, mountains and deserts--and and the rich diversity of flora and fauna that flourish there. These are the last places in our area where, in the words of President Theodore Roosevelt, one can still behold the "awful glory of sunrise and sunset in the wide waste spaces of the earth, unworn of man, and changed only by the slow change of the ages through time everlasting."

Supervisor ____, you are the last hope for this wilderness. Please say NO the the Tule Wind Farm.

Respectfully,

Craig S. Maxwell

Maxwell's House of Books

 

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