Letter 1:  (an attempt at satire that did not really work out--some readers thought I was serious



An article in Sunday’s paper looked at why Wyoming wind power is behind other states, even those that one would not associate with wind power (Iowa, Texas). I would like to suggest that Wyoming was behind in wind power because we were embarrassed that we were not as savvy as wildlife about wind power.

Foolishly, after years and years of being told oil derricks were loud and obnoxious and drove off wildlife, the trucks over the open spaces leaving hundreds of tire tracks, oil and gas obscuring the view with ugly oil derricks and open pit coal mines, suddenly it becomes clear that none of this was the true problem. It turns out wildlife KNOW what is environmentally friendly and they are all in on this stuff.

Eagles and bats are completely willing to sacrifice however many individuals as needed to keep that wind turbine turning. The noise of 50 trucks an hour putting in the thousands of pounds of concrete and metal to make the 400 foot turbines is music to the ears of sage grouse, deer, foxes, owls, eagles........Wildlife was never disturbed by activity, only by the vile and evil nature of the oil and gas people. We just didn’t understand this.

As for the driving over the "fragile ecosystem", again it’s completely acceptable to destroy as many plants as necessary and as many species of wildlife as necessary to get those beautiful, environmentally perfect wind turbines put in. The ecosystem is only affected by oil, gas and other evil polluters.

Lastly, while there seems to be a push to limit oil and gas in the Teton Range, I hope Wyomingites won’t make the mistake of thinking tourists or any one else cares about the views. The only things tourists do not want to see are oil and gas development of any kind and those horribly ugly open pit coal mines. Heck, 400 or 500 wind turbines along the base of the Tetons would be a beautiful site the would undoubtedly be featured on many vacation pictures featured on the net, along with praise for not letting anything get in the way of saving the environment.

Now that Wyomingites understand these things and as they get over their embarrassment over their complete lack of understanding of saving the environment and that wildlife were smarter than the average Wyoming citizen, we can look forward to thousands of turbines in all of the tourist pictures, the sacrifice of a few animals and plants all for the much greater good of 400 foot, vibrating, environmentally perfect wind turbines.

Just a theory.......

 Letters to the editor I have contributed






December 2011

Recently we have seen letters asking that the Production Tax Credit for wind be extended. This is interesting. GE recently reportedly stated if the tax credit for wind was not extended, the company would move to Germany. Yes, that’s the GE that made billions and paid no taxes now demanding a continuation of avoidance of taxation (others benefitting from this tax credit include Morgan-Stanley, Exxon, Warren Buffet and Goldman Sachs). These are part of the 1% that sparked the Occupy Wall Street movement, now demand continued tax exemptions.

Wyoming’s governor and senators have supported exempting GE from paying the Production Credit Tax. Any action extending the PTC for GE and wind, helps GE maintain that tax-free status. These elected officials are furthering the tax “losses” from corporations and individuals getting a free ride. Blaming GE for not paying taxes is misplaced when Congress and state governments clearly believe there is no reason for taxing certain industries and corporations.

What we have here is what the military calls a “Catch 22”, science calls “mutually exclusive” and Orwell called “double think”. In simpler terms, you cannot have your cake and eat it too. GE and the other 1%ers pay no taxes because the people we elect give them tax credits that taken as a total, allow the companies to not pay taxes. If you think GE and other wealthy corporations and individuals should pay taxes, then elect people who don’t vote and lobby for giving these corporations free rides. Continuing to elect persons who support a “tax-free GE” and then complaining that GE pays no taxes amounts to trying to bend reality with your will. Reality does not bend. Pick one or the other.



November 2011


Mr. Jack Watts wrote concerning how wind is clean and coal is dirty and we need to switch to wind power.  I was quite surprised—I had no idea turbines popped up fully formed from the earth.  I was laboring under the misconception that wind turbines required copper, iron ore, rare earth elements and bauxite mining (much of which is done in other countries because it’s “environmentally damaging”), plus gravel pits and concrete plants.  Then there’s rare earth element refining, again done overseas in China, which turned an entire valley into a toxic, radioactive dump (but it’s not in the US, so do we care?).  Blades are made with “possible” carcinogen styrene .   A North Dakota plant was cited earlier this year for exposing workers to excessive levels of styrene—not so safe making turbines, it seems.   If turbine parts are manufactured overseas, and the majority seem to be, the materials require shipping to the US, often on diesel powered ships.  And since the wind is variable, there’s that pesky natural gas plant running 24/7 as backup in case the wind stops blowing. 

Now it seems all my beliefs were mistaken.  Turbines just spring up fully formed and so very green, who could oppose them?

For those of you who embrace wind energy, I am thinking of starting a web-based business selling perpetual motion machines to produce clean, free energy for your homes.  I might even be able to get some stimulus funding to keep the cost down.


May 2011

With the propaganda fest in Rawlins on wind (Celebrate Wind May21st, 2011), it's time to take a look at some of the realities that often are overlooked with wind.
The proposed turbines south of Rawlins are being put in by a Colorado billionaire, who will be eligible to receive up to two thirds of the cost through subsidies, tax breaks, and accelerated depreciation. Interesting that Obama has not been outraged that billionaires and oil companies get these tax subsidies/breaks for wind, but is outraged the oil companies and the rich receive too many tax breaks. Maybe it's just that using tax breaks for oil and the wealthy is so much more obvious than giving the money to these groups via a more hidden route, like wind subsidies.
The power will go to California via a transmission line (probably also subsidized). California fulfills its renewable energy mandate and keeps its scenic vistas. Wyoming gets the mess. Generally that is referred to as NIMBY behavior.
Wyoming senators backed the gift of your tax money to billionaire corporations because it's “good for Wyoming”. It appears if Wyoming is lucky, they might get 1% of the money invested by taxpayers in this project. Wyoming gets property tax (Duke Energy paid approximately $2.5 million on a wind generation site with 66 turbines, for example) and sales/use tax of around 5%. The remaining 99% of the earnings from the turbines goes to corporations and other states. With that kind of math, no wonder there is a deficit.
The new 21st century environmentalism is also interesting—more mining (clearing rainforests to do so), more refining including rare earth metals that often contain radioactive materials, more land clearing, more toxic chemicals used building turbine blades, more roads, more transmission lines (guess they were mistaken about EMFs when they fought transmission lines before), destruction of habitat, dead raptors, all to save the planet. Who would have thought that environmentalists would come to love industrialization??
I’m not seeing a reason to celebrate.

April 2011 letter to the editor:

As you send in those tax payments or stare at the tiny refund, consider:
$5 billion dollars of tax money was spent last year for "renewables", which produce less than 3% of the electricity in this country. Some states like Washington and Oregon are having the turbines damp back because there's too much electricity made in high winds--so $5 billion to cut back on windy days. Generally, that’s not considered a good investment if you have to damp back due to the very thing you invested in…..
Senator Barrasso has said Wyoming has world class wind resources and we should develop those. Yes--and California had world class gold deposits, as did Alaska. We're still cleaning up those messes. Kansas had world class prairies for growing wheat and other crops. The government encouraged people to move there. Then the drought hit and the dust. Years of dust. Washington ignored the plight of those trapped in the Dust Bowl until the black cloud made it to Washington DC. Having world class resources of something does not mean we have the sense or technology to use it well, at least according to past experience. Turbines have never been subjected to rigorous scientific testing. The turbines were just planted.
Five billion dollars and China is a mess from rare earth refining to flood the markets with magnets, the dust at turbines near Glenrock is certainly world-class (surprise, grass doesn't grow back as fast as one would think and high wind moves dirt), and forests and mountains are being destroyed across the nation in pursuit of a "free energy source". Wind turbines were brought to you by your government and environmentalists. The same people who brought you wolves.
Have a happy tax day!


Letter to Editor, Casper Star-Tribune        January 2011

Dear Editor:

After reading Cheryl Riley's column, I looked up the Wyoming Power Producers Coalition.  The annual dues are $10,000 for full membership.  One can't charge dues of that amount if they can't produce money for members by bringing in wind power plants.  I’m sure she wants many, many turbines.

Ms. Riley states in her article "hundreds of good jobs from wind" would be an outcome of increased wind power plants.  I have found predictions all over the internet concerning how many jobs wind creates.  I could not find an actual number for existing jobs in wind in Wyoming.  When the Glenrock wind power plants were constructed, only half the license plates I saw were from in state.  I am sure the motels and restaurants benefited, but only for the six or so months of construction.  Actual employment after construction is a manager and a few maintenance personnel, so far as I can find.

Wind provides less than 2% of our energy yet requires huge subsidies from the federal government.  Lower state taxation might bring in more wind, but more wind turbines would require more federal subsidies.  The stimulus package gave $550 million dollars to wind energy last year.  It seems unlikely the government can keep putting these costs on its credit card.  More tax money will be needed.  Somewhere the cost/benefit ratio has to be addressed before more money is appropriated for these projects.  Who is actually benefitting? 

Ms. Riley says the companies know they need to pay their own way, yet checking statistics, every time subsidies are cut, turbine installation drops off.  This is a worldwide phenomenon.  It appears that a huge infusion of tax money is needed everywhere wind is installed. That is not "paying their own way". 

I have noticed that ranchers that receive free money taken in part from the taxpayers, wind companies getting millions in subsidies and companies that lobby for wind are the biggest supporters of wind.  Human behavior being what it is, I suppose it's natural that those who get "free" money would indeed support whatever source it came from.  However, American energy policy should not be based on what group can grab the most tax money.  Not unless you want to end up sitting in the cold and dark.

Economic lesson explaining wind energy:  Taxpayers give the wind developer a $1 million tax credit/subsidy.  The wind developer puts in $2 million and erects a turbine.  Commerce occurs.  The government needs more millions for more turbines and raises taxes to cover the cost.  Taxpayer pays for at least one third of the cost of the turbine, the developer gets a 33% discount and then demands tax breaks at a state level.  I’m sure that looks good to the developer.  Not so good for the rest of the participants.

 Why Not Wind








Letter 2:
Dear Editor:

While Mr. Fleetwood had an excellent response to Mr. Walts wind letter, there are a few additional points to consider.

First, if wind power is the answer, then the question must be "How can we do the most environmental damage, with the least results and for the most cost"?

Mr. Walts says he drives by the industrial wind electrical generation site (they are NOT farms and bear no resemblance to agriculture–"farm" is a spin term) each day. Has he ever driven over to the site? Has he seen the very nice house with the giant turbine in its side yard? Driving down Cole Creek or other area roads really does not give you a true picture of what living next to a turbine is like. I suggest that all of you who love turbines drive out on a windy day and park near the turbines with the windows down.

Mr. Walts stated that these turbines will cut CO2 emissions. I notice that the environmentalists are now calling the dissipation rate of CO2 a "half-life". Half-life applies to radioactive decay, not dissipation of a gas. Surely no one is not suggesting that CO2 is radioactive. I have searched and searched and cannot find where any conventional power plant has shut down due to installation of wind turbines any where, even in Europe. If no conventional plants are replaced by wind, no decrease in CO2 is occurring due to wind power. The problem with wind is the same as it was 30 years ago. Wind can generate power but that power cannot be stored. Modern society relies on power being available at the flip of a switch. "Backup" coal power plants cannot rev up and rev down at will to match the fluctuations in the wind. Think of sailboats versus power boats. One does not move products using a sailboat when a power boat is available.

For years, biodiversity was pushed by environmentalists–thus, the Endangered Species Act. Yet wind turbines are allowed to be placed virtually anywhere. In Ontario, Canada, there is a farmer who wanted to build his daughter a house on his land but cannot due to living in a protected forest area. Yet he can lease land, the trees can be cut and turbines put in, all while paying him a tidy sum. So did environmentalists lie about the need to protect biodiversity before? Are they lying now about the turbines? Are polar bears and the rainforest next? Turbines in ANWAR? (It’s pretty windy up there, actually....)

Currently, there are few, if any regulations on wind turbines in Wyoming. I would guess that in 20 years or so there will be government money to deal with abandoned wind turbines. Even where there are regulations, they are very general and often leave decommissioning agreements up to land owners and turbine owners. This worked so well in the past for mining, right?

If CO2 and greenhouse gases are such a threats, I would expect people to be lobbying for electricity rationing, gas rationing, much smaller homes, outlawing big screen TVs (as suggested in California), closing "dirty" factories, and no importing from any country not following the same rules. If global warming is as serious as we are being told it is, drastic action must be taken. If it’s not that serious, then we are losing open spaces, cutting virgin forests and covering offshore ocean areas in a rush to install highly subsidized wind turbines from which we get nothing but a bigger tax bill.

(When trying to convince people how wonderful wind energy is, consider this: A local wind contractor shows a picture of a Wyoming ranch, cowboy and dog for their "logo". No wind turbines. Why not photoshop the turbines in and call it an "artist’s rendition"? Why show that which will be destroyed instead of what will be created?)  The local paper edited this part out before printing.