Thursday, April 22, 2010

Heritage Uses Earth Day to Attack Wind Power

How does the Heritage Foundation celebrate Earth Day? With absurd attacks against clean energy, of course. In a blog post today, author Jack Spencer made a dire warning about the dangers of oil leaks - from wind turbines.
"Then there is the issue of leaking oil that is almost never considered. There are already numerous examples of wind mills leaking oil into the environment. Now people want to line our shore lines with them under the auspices of environmental cleanliness."

Then Heritage gets desperate: after implying that wind mills are a big oil leak hazard, the article then offers this tidbit:

Here is a list of over 700 wind mill related accidents, including oil spills.
ZOMG, 700 accidents? And how many of those were oil spills, and just how bad??

Well, read the report and decide for yourself: it's an Excel spreadsheet put together by a small group in Scotland that really, really hates windmills because they're not attractive enough (as opposed to oil rigs?) and literally finds every proposed wind project of any size and generates an online petition against it.

In this lovely report, you'll find horrendous windmill accidents like:
"Semitruck collision with wind turbine ties up Illinois 130 traffic" Collision between semitrailer and blade trailer. No one injured.
and
Turbine #10 at the Searsburg wind energy facility in Searsburg, Approximately 20-gallons of heavy oil spilled from the unit when its fluid reservoirs were damaged.
Really? A fender-bender involving a truck carrying a wind turbine, and a 20-gallon spill? For comparison, the Exxon Valdez spilled 10.8 million gallons of crude oil that covered 1,300 square miles of ocean and coastline.

To be clear, oil spills of any kind and of any size are not good. But we find such concerns about wind power from the Heritage Foundation to be highly dubious and disingenuous, given the more than $500,000 the organization has received from ExxonMobil. And their attacks are that much more outrageous in the wake of yesterday's tragic oil rig explosion off the coast of Louisiana and today's news that the rig has sunk completely. According to a Houston Chronicle analysis, this is not an isolated incident: there have been 509 fires recorded on oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico since 2006, including nine characterized as “major.”

Our dependence on oil is a danger to our nation. Alternatives like wind power and other clean energy technologies are the answer, not the problem. On Earth Day, of all days, even the good folks at Heritage should be able to cut the spin and recognize this reality.

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