A bill has been introduced into the North Carolina legislature to ban future wind farms within 100 miles of the coast. This is the area where wind turbines are most productive due to the regular winds produced by the ocean.
State Senator Harry Brown (R, Onslow County) has introduced the bill ostensibly to product military installations. He states that his goal is to keep high structures out of the flight path of the many military airfields situated in this region.
But the Navy, which operates several Marine Corps air stations along the coast, says that there is no problem. They have examined how an existing wind farm in Perquimans and Pasquotank counties affects radar and flight paths and found that it posed no obstacle to their operations. The Pentagon even has an office dedicated to promoting energy development which works with companies that construct these facilities.
So Brown’s stated objective is suspect from the start. As Big Daddy said in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” we smell the odor of mendacity. A quick search of Brown’s campaign finance disclosure shows that Duke Energy and the Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives each gave over $10,000, which amounts to 20% of the total he raised for the 2016 election. (Data for 2018 wasn’t found.)
Does anyone doubt that if Duke Energy decided to go into wind farms in the coastal region, we would soon see Brown doing an about-face?
There are several ways in which this bill is anti-worker:
- Developing wind farms will create jobs in one of the more rural and impoverished regions of our state.
- These facilities will increase the amount of taxes raised in their respective counties for essential services in counties that have such small tax bases now. This improves the lives of the people who live in those counties.
- Further economic development in the coastal area will benefit from the availability of clean, sustainable energy.
- Looking toward the future, we must end dependence on fossil fuels and increase the flow of sustainable energy. This isn’t just some green dream of suburban liberals; it means the survival of working people.
Harry Brown is fattening his own purse at the expense of the thousands of people in eastern North Carolina who would benefit in so many ways from construction of wind turbines. Even in a Republican-controlled legislature, this bill can be stopped if people concerned for the lives of our fellow workers take action to prevent it.