A thousand or so wind turbines south of Rawlins, Wyoming?

Anshutz plans 4-6 billon dollar development-

Anschutz Corp. plans masssive Wyoming wind farm. By Matt Joyce. AP. Forbes.

About 40 other remote wind projects are being considered. This single project would cover over 150 square miles.

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Related: Biologists study turbines’ effect on grouse. Billings Gazette. AP
5-26. For comparison: Utah wind farm nearing completion (97 turbines). Salt Lake Tribune






  1. Peter Bray Avatar

    So sad. Obama and his ilk remind me of folks like Woody Guthrie and his support for damning (literally) the Columbia. Nowadays everyone is struggling and debating loss of salmong… in 50 years, we’ll probably be having the same conversations about, say, bats or raptors or sage grouse.

  2. jdubya Avatar

    Better than a 150 square mile tar sands development. Let us not forget to recognize the benefit of this type of energy development versus others much much more destructive of bat, raptor or sage grouse habitat.

    Speaking of that, a great article in this weeks New Yorker on the great extinctions of the world. Man has already accomplished one 10,000 years ago, and now we are in the middle of doing another. A great but sad read.

  3. Brian Ertz Avatar

    better-than ain’t good enough:

    we don’t need more electricity.

  4. jdubya Avatar

    So Brian, how many bats are being killed by turbines versus the white nose fungus? I’ll take the turbines.

    And if we don’t need more electricity, then when do you kill your computer as an example?

  5. James M Avatar
    James M

    It’s not as if the windmills are only useful if we need MORE electricity.

    Even if we were using the SAME amount of electricity, windmills would be beneficial step for the environment overall compared to getting the same power from mountain top removal mining.

    If we don’t get change how satisfy our *existing* need for power, we will keep getting it the same damaging ways.

  6. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    I might support wind turbines if they are used to replace existing coal fired plants and some salmon killing dams.
    Simply providing more electricity to fuel population growth
    and more sprawl is insane.

  7. Wyo Native Avatar
    Wyo Native

    With 5 acre pad sites for each turbine, along with all the new roads, plus all of the new transmission lines required to transport this electricity, WILL have a negative impact to Sage Grouse habitat.

    All of this and how many Coal Fired Mega Plants will be shut down? ZERO!!!!!!!!!

  8. jdubya Avatar

    Larry, that is the point isn’t it? In Utah we have new turbines going up, but the electricity is being sold to Calif because they, by law, have to wean themselves off coal.


    While I would prefer the wind generated power stay in state, the alternative was to expand the Delta coal plant to pump more juice in the grid, leaving Utah with the air pollution but selling the electricity to other western states. I DO support wind turbines and nuclear energy to kill our coal burning plants and tear down the salmon killing dams. The concept of clean coal is a farce.

  9. matt bullard Avatar
    matt bullard

    Larry, then I guess we should continue building new coal plants to fuel that growth. Bottom line is that growth is happening and likely will continue to happen. I support curbing that growth, but we do live in the real world here. The power’s going to come from somewhere, it should come from efficiency and conservation first, but also from renewables like wind, solar, and geothermal. The notion that we should only build new wind and solar if they are used to replace existing coal is not an argument that accounts for the reality and magnitude of the problems we face today.

  10. Brian Ertz Avatar

    boy – those shiny new technologies are nice aren’t they ? they give us a nice warm sense of accomplishment — as if unbridled human ambition and consumption isn’t the problem !.


    you honestly believe that my computer is indication of hypocrisy ? ha —

    Larry & Wyo Native are exactly right – how many coal plants are going to be shut down as a condition of these wind developments ? ZERO . that’s how many. & Obama’s just as fast on track with the coal / mountain-top removal.

    matt says :

    then I guess we should continue building new coal plants to fuel that growth.

    Yes Matt, I think that’s exactly what we’re all saying <— Sarcasm … …

    Bottom line is that growth is happening and likely will continue to happen. I support curbing that growth, but we do live in the real world here. The power’s going to come from somewhere, it should come from efficiency and conservation first, but also from renewables like wind, solar, and geothermal. The notion that we should only build new wind and solar if they are used to replace existing coal is not an argument that accounts for the reality and magnitude of the problems we face today.

    the reality and magnitude of the problems we face today dictate that we decommission coal … not that we don’t decommission coal – which is exactly what’s happening. So while you continue to pretend like wind and solar are helping solve the problem — the carbon is still spewing … but you get to pack yourself on the back because the marketers told you you were doing good by blindly supporting the next giant energy industry rather than the last … (two thumbs up)

    this is the problem – the nebulous “reality” (which energy developer apologists get to frame from the get-go) dictates that we need more and more and more … while countries in europe with the same standard of living consume half the energy (how much into the future would that dry out growth demand back here at home ?) see – you’ve granted that growth is happening, that production is supreme – that demand is a priori — from the get go… when you start from the supposition that market demand is a priori – of course there’s not going to be any coal decommissioned, there’s demand for coal … and that’s a priori – that’s “reality” right ?

    The inherent problem is that these apologists claim to want both – “efficiency & conservation first” right ? but unfortunately, the two compete for resources – so when you subsidize the hell outta generation technologies, you artificially subdue (via externality costs picked up by tax-payer or dead wildlife/landscapes) the actual price of the energy and dry up the main market incentive to conserve – (that it would save a noticeable amount of money )- of course, the consumer would pay roughly the same for energy if we just used less by buying appliances, toys, houses, etc. that used less – but if energy is as cheap as it is today, the demand for those efficient technologies can never compete (at the rate we need them to) with the wasteful technologies that can be sold for less money at the storefront – there’s no profit for the big energy companies in conservation — they make money when energy is used, and they make a lot of money when it’s wasted.

    instead of having a rational conversation about the actual implications and “realities” – we get replies such as

    “And if we don’t need more electricity, then when do you kill your computer as an example?”


    “then I guess we should continue building new coal plants to fuel that growth”

    that are apparently supposed to stand-in for thoughtful replies to criticism of the “realities”.

    ‘we need more.. More.. MORE energy – cuz – cuz – cuz – there’s demand for it !’

    there’s demand for it because it’s artificially cheap — there wouldn’t be demand if it wasn’t artificially cheap (see: gas last year), if it wasn’t artificially cheap, people, the marketplace, would work to service people’s needs (the same as they have today – for more people, no less) using less energy.

    Negawatts – look at it

  11. jdubya Avatar

    Brian, as tired as you might consider my comment, as are yours. The facts are there in plain sight: the US will continue to use electricity at the same or expanded level especially if we can off load a decent percent of our auto traffic onto over night battery charges instead of Chevron gas. And the political landscape will not include realistic prices for energy unless imposed from an international market (re, oil, but not coal).

    So there is the conundrum that only alternatives to coal fired plants will solve. I don’t care much how we get the juice as long as it does not involve burning more carbon based fuels and releasing CO2. If the alternative is a tar sands site versus that of a wind turbine farm, simple choice.

  12. Wyo Native Avatar
    Wyo Native

    The Dems like Obama, Reid, etc, DO NOT want to reduce Carbon Emmissions!

    They want to sell credits to make the Government Money, via Cap and Trade!

    Cap and Trade would only work if there were a economicaly viable alternative available to take the place of the Coal Carbon Pukers.

    Wind and Solar on industrial scales is not that alternative. Without massive subsidies they would be DOA, because they are inefficient, and costly to maintain.

    The Dems like Reid and Obama know they are not a viable alternative but they push them anyway because they DO NOT want Coal to go away, especially if they end up with Cap and Trade legislation.

    They look at Carbon as a form of Government Revenue, and could care less about the environment. As long as they put the term “Green” or “Green Jobs” to these large scale alternative energy producing technologies like wind and solar, people will fall head over heals thinking we are accomplishing something. When in reality all we have done is hold the status quo.

  13. matt bullard Avatar
    matt bullard

    jdubya – well said. I could not agree more. I know that doesn’t add to the conversation, but I could not have said what I believe more *succinctly*.

  14. Brian Ertz Avatar

    The facts are there in plain sight: the US will continue to use electricity at the same or expanded level

    it’s “facts” like these that built industrial dams, giant nuclear, and wipe away entire mountain-tops. these are the “facts” that laid the foundation for the troubles we are failing to address today. it’s the small minds behind these “facts”, especially the ones who take the breath to point to any energy source as “clean” – pretending in their little minds that a hit to the landscape or wildlife will avert ecological bankruptcy better than a blow to the atmosphere, that have co-opted the real tough choices that would have left all of our children a better, more modest lifestyle and sustainable future.

    why don’t jdubya or matt bullard address the substance – the rationale – of the real choices – ? i’ve addressed their *succinct* contributions. why is it easier to make this about “better than” values judgements ? will your children thank any of us for giving them a “better than” future ? i am glad that i do not have such a *succinct* world-view as matt bullard and the rest who pretend as though we do not owe as much of our unique and affluent standard of living to the wildlife communities, landscapes, and water sources that constitute our public landscapes bladed away by their “green” “better-than”.

    The concept of clean coal is a farce.

    The concept of clean/”green” energy is a farce.

  15. otto Avatar

    Here are some actual facts for ya’ll:

    Energy used to heat/cool, light, and power buildings accounts for 50% of US energy consumption and 40% of our carbon emissions. By making the most basic of investments to retrofit buildings with efficient lighting and air conditioning, along with improved building codes that benefit long term performance over short term construction costs, we can choose to demand less energy at any time.

    The choice is ours, and because electric utility laws only allow the utility to collect rates for kilowatts demanded, only we will make this choice. Energy Secretary Chu has made this choice recently stating: “The biggest gains, in terms of decreasing the country’s energy bill, the amount of carbon dioxide we put into the atmosphere, and our dependency on foreign oil, will come from energy efficiency and conservation in the next 20 years. Make no doubt about it. That’s where everybody who has really thought about the problem thinks the biggest gains can be and should be.”

  16. JB Avatar

    I’ve waffled on this issue for a while (I suppose Bush would label me a “flip-flopper”), and am still frustrated by the alternatives. I agree with Brian in principle, but with a caveat. I think the initial subsidization and mass production of “green” energy *COULD* lead to decommissioning of coal-fired power plants. All that’s required are big enough subsidies to make these technologies competitive (or better) stiff penalties for production of carbon. These policies would make it cheaper to produce electricity in a green manner; as production became too costly (i.e. not competitive) energy producers would abandon coal for other technologies (well, theoretically anyway).

    However, I would rather see us (as a country) develop policies that encourage conservation and on-sight/home production of energy FIRST (not as an afterthought).

  17. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    The Dems like Obama, Reid, etc, DO NOT want to reduce Carbon Emmissions!

    Interesting theory Wyo Native.

  18. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    JB, you make a good point there.

  19. Brian Ertz Avatar


    i like your approach – the caveat i’d pose for you is this — just as important as making “renewables” competitive is making efficiency and energy conservation competitive… if energy is cheap, the short term economic choice consumers will inevitably make will be to buy cheaper end-use technologies (that are, in general, more wasteful – dishwasher w/energy star is pricier than w/o energy star) … so if you subsidize the hell out of “renewables” to depreciate the end-use cost of per watt of energy (to bring them into competitiveness w/ coal or others) you may be effectually working against the competitiveness of efficiency technologies & market behaviors that conserve energy … you dry the well/incentive to conserve.

    so, the argument many have been trying to make is — let’s maintain the cost of energy use — or allow it to increase in response to increased demand — not by subsidizing (“green”) energy production (which is how the mainstream seems to be approaching it) but by reducing the amount of more expensive energy that we use by allowing increase in demand to result in increase in cost (but the consumer pays closer to what we’ve always paid because we’re using less of that more expensive energy) — that’s how one encourages the application of the innovation of the market toward efficiency & conservation technologies.

    this is why it’s so frustrating to try to speak with energy developer chearleaders (especially of the “renewable” variety). That effort is undermining conservation & efficiency efforts, the “all of the above” approach is self-contradictory given the market principles.

    Why are proponents of Big Wind or Big Solar unwilling to speak at this level ? – to get to the grit of it ? Matt ? jdubya ? Why ?

  20. matt bullard Avatar
    matt bullard

    Brian – what is the point of me or anyone trying to address the rationale of the real choices in this forum? It is quite clear, as it has been for a long time around here, that divergent viewpoints on this topic are not only not welcome but not tolerated. There is too much nuance, nothing is black and white, and quite frankly, I don’t have the time or energy to go into more detail here.

    I suggest you consider how unwelcoming and offensive the tone of your post is. You’re saying that I have a little mind? You actually wrote that. That is offensive. You imply that my worldview is “succinct”? Another offensive personal attack that doesn’t really do much to make me want to participate, but maybe that is your point. You are a moderator on this forum – act like one, and grow up.

  21. matt bullard Avatar
    matt bullard

    JB and Bryan, on the last two posts, I agree with that as well.

    Brian, I’m willing to speak to that level, but see my previous post. I have no idea what I said to set you off…

  22. TC Avatar

    Interesting comments one and all, and great fodder for policy debate and philosophical cabbals, but this is planned for my backyard and somehow I’m taking this personally (I don’t know why, except the more I investigate wind power the more unsure I become about it as a cure-all, especially in sensitive landscapes). I do know that quite a few Wyomingites are getting pretty tired of our landscapes being raped and pillaged to send energy (and water) ELSEWHERE so that people can consume like gluttons, live high on the hog and without an eye towards intelligent and responsible usage, and frankly, live in places where there shouldn’t be major urban centers in the first place (Las Vegas being a great example.). How ironic that one of SE Wyoming’s most beautiful and productive wild landscapes (http://www.sage-creative.net/pdf/orvis.pdf) will be spoiled so that tourists can gamble, drink, and carouse 900 miles away in Sin City. This is a bummer. It’s too bad nobody can pony up the $47.5 million to buy the Overland Trail Cattle Co. Ranch while it is being shopped around to the ultra-wealthy by Orvis (actually I’m not sure if it’s still for sale or not). I don’t understand how or why anyone would consider approval of a project of this scope or scale – we’ll see how it turns out. Who’d have thought our relentless and mind-numbing winds in SE Wyoming would come back to haunt us?

  23. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    TC, you make a good point as well. It is too bad that Wyoming has been serving other states this way.

  24. Wyo Native Avatar
    Wyo Native

    TC, welcome to our reality in Uinta County. By the end of this year our county will be pushing 300 1.5 MW turbines. All of which are placed right in the middle of prime Sage Grouse habitat, and mule deer winter range.

    ProWolf, I am a firm believer that Obama, Reid, Pelosi, etc, are in this only for the money.

    Wind turbines are not a viable alternative because they inefficient. Wind turbine’s net power output is only 30% of their rated power. Plus their power fluctuates dramatically due to wind speeds and lack of wind. These fluctuations do not meet the needs of steady frequencies that our power grids require. Without some sort of LARGE type of capacitance technology capable of storing multiple Gigawatts of electricity, coal fired power plants will always be required on a large scale basis to control the frequency of our electrical grids.

    These politicians know this, or at least they should, hell anyone who took a high school Physics class should know this. If these politicians really wanted to reduce Carbon, they would either pass legislation requiring massive conservation efforts, or they would be promoting Nuclear which could eliminate the Coal industry within the next ten years.

  25. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    Wyo Native, I have always been interested in nuclear power. Can’t say that I’ve researched it enough to have an informed opinion. Are there uranium reserves left in Wyoming? That could still benefit us job wise if that were the case.

  26. Elkchaser Avatar

    Geez, I wonder what is wrong with this formula?
    1. Use my tax money to subsidize innefficient wind/solar, etc. energy.
    2. Use more of my tax money to implement a carbon cap and trade system.
    3. Many good paying US jobs are eliminated with coal plants being forced out of business.
    4. Less people paying taxes
    5. Cost of energy goes up immensely.
    6. Rolling blackouts become a routine event.
    Why isn’t everyone piling on this common sense bandwagon? DUH.
    If the greenies are so against coal, nuclear, etc. power then y’all can be the first to give up electricity.

  27. Brian Ertz Avatar


    I’m sorry if i hurt your feelings. i’ll try to grow up. i understand you don’t have time to qualify your position, apparently – in the meantime, i’ll invite you out to browns bench and ask that you visit the place from now until mid-june — i’d ask you to visit for yourself the landscape before it’s gone. i made this video for you :

    Browns Bench is slated for wind development — among the last, largest, best blocks of sage-steppe habitat in the state of Idaho – land that belongs to you :

    Check out the photo gallery

  28. matt bullard Avatar
    matt bullard

    Brian, you didn’t hurt my feelings, give me a break. But if you are trying to coax thoughtful comments out of people, you might consider not insulting them and being a little bit more thoughtful and respectful of other people’s points of view, however different they may be from yours.

    That’s a cool video. Brown’s Bench looks like an incredible place.

  29. jdubya Avatar

    “”it’s the small minds behind these “facts”, especially the ones who take the breath to point to any energy source as “clean” – pretending in their little minds””

    the fact my hat size is a 6 7/8 has nothing to do with this.

    brian, when you can get over the fox news style rhetoric and stop insulting people in your own inimitable way, the conversation can continue.

  30. Brian Ertz Avatar

    So Brian, how many bats are being killed by turbines versus the white nose fungus? I’ll take the turbines.

    stop insulting the bats …
    I’ll take the bats

  31. outsider Avatar

    Cool video, but from what I saw you could say that its from any number of western states. Except for the obvious wind that one can hear in the video. I will once again ask the question about how can BB be

    “among the last, largest, best blocks of sage-steppe habitat in the state of Idaho”

    If I’m not mistaken isn’t that part of unit 47 for hunting and I beleive thats over 30% private. The ground sure looked like it had a lot of grass and ground cover for a place that has been degrated with livestock grazing for over 125 years.

    So how can it be prime ground with all the livestock grazing?

  32. otto Avatar

    If your concern is about landscape loss, rising energy prices, and gluttonous consumption the only real answer is conservation and efficiency. Otherwise these negatives just get shifted around to whomever cannot avoid them. Wyoming has taken the brunt of this recently through oil, gas, and coal development promoted by the feds at the expense of local communities. Now, with new leadership in charge, local have the chance to push back. However this push must be based on a realistic and detailed understanding of the technical, legal, and social realities of energy.

    The parade of horrible used to argue against changes to the status quo are false rhetorical gimmicks.

    1. Coal plants are not efficient uses of fuel under any definition. Coal plants achieve about 30% efficiency in converting fuel into electricity. The newest generation of gasification coal plants, none of which are being built, achieve 50%. Wind, while decades behind in research and investment, already matches the efficiency of coal and solar is rapidly gaining. The critical component now is to develop strategies to balance production and demand. Utilities have already worked out some of these issues as they have rushed headlong into wind integration over the past five years. In the northwest our high portion of easily variable hydro power gives us a huge advantage in this department. http://www.fossil.energy.gov/programs/powersystems/gasification/index.html

    2. A “Cap and trade” regulation of carbon is not economically efficient, rather politically feasible. If people would stop having a visceral reaction to the word “tax” then our country could have a rational discussion about this. Tax money is used to develop, enforce, and defend every law, policy, and program our government undertakes. Former Interior Secretary Kempthorne used hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax money to renovate his office bathroom. Millions of tax dollars go to defending the 2nd amendment right to arms, enforcing the 4th amendment ban on unreasonable searches, and the 11th amendments preservation of state sovereignty just to name a few examples. So of course our tax money is used to develop any new energy strategy. Once we admit that taxes are the price we pay to live in a modern, civilized society then we can discuss the details of a cap and trade system. The current version being discussed in Congress will give away the initial permits under the cap for free, missing out on a potential revenue stream that could fund the regulatory system. Even charging a nominal fee for these permits would begin the process of internalizing the external consequences of unabated pollution caused by mercury, radioactive particles, nitrous oxides, and carbon emissions coming from the 600 coal plants in the US.

    3. Taxes currently subsidize all forms of energy, with the bulk going to coal, oil, and nuclear development. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 allocated about 22 billion dollars in incentives and breaks to the dirtiest of energy sources. http://www.foe.org/energy-policy-act-showers-billions-polluting-industries

    4. The choice is not more or less jobs, just different jobs. The computer age eliminated good paying jobs at typewriter factories the number of new and better jobs created was overwhelming. Many good jobs are created by investing in new technologies and new industries like solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and cellulosic ethanol.

    5. Changing energy sources will not cause less people to pay taxes. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 reduced the taxes paid by energy producers, royalties paid by fuel extraction, and did nothing to increase pay(and thereby the tax rate) for energy workers. By eliminating tax breaks for the most profitable industries (coal, oil, gas) we will see more tax income, not less.

    6. Electrical prices will not increase immensely because the state regulators that establish energy rates have no legal authority to allow this. State laws require all rates charged to be “fair and reasonable” and mandate that regulators avoid “rate shock” by allowing only gradual increases overtime even if the utility will collect reduced profit immediately. In Idaho natural gas prices establish the marginal rate at which wind and solar are compared. Gas prices are highly volatile and subject to rapid escalation at any moment. Meanwhile wind, solar, and geothermal may have high initial costs but the fuel, the highest operational cost, is free and stable.

    7. Rolling blackouts only became routine during the California energy crisis brought on by the total deregulation of the energy market. Because the utilities with large coal and gas plants had total control of the price for energy they charged extortionate rates which utilities refused to pay resulting in blackouts due to market conditions, not lack of generation sources. No scientist, engineer, or regulator would ever design and build a system that allowed for rolling blackouts as a common occurrence. Our modern infrastructure for banking, business communications, transportation, and public safety require reliability and a huge body of State and Federal laws ensure this.

  33. Brian Ertz Avatar


    you are correct – areas of the public ground on Brown’s Bench are grazed – others are not. what the livestock have done to some of the aspen is particularly egregious … one of the permittees owns land, and is likely to turn quite a profit should the wind go up (as it’s needed by the wind developers for their plans). there was actually quite the controversy when Dave Parrish noted the impact that the wind would have to big game & wildlife habitat — he lost his job, as the private land-holder is politically connected and his complaint was passed up the political pyramid. Dave also has a history of noting the abuse of the land concerning another permittee (family member) with regard to grazing on public ground in jarbidge – so there was history.

    on Brown’s Bench, some of the private land looks to be relatively rested — they pound the public pastures.

  34. jdubya Avatar

    So Brian, give us some real numbers to back up your claims.

    For example, tell me how many bats and raptors and sage grouse will die from wind farms versus the combined lethality to bats, raptors, mammals, fish, etc from the origination (or to use a DWR term, harvest) of coal, the transportation of coal, and the burning of coal including the release of toxins/heavy metals, etc. in the immediate down wind environment of the plant as well as the effect of C02 release across the planet.

    Those of us with small minds would like to see your numbers. Got any?

  35. outsider Avatar

    Brain so have they retired permits or have some been taken away for abuse up on BB? I thought that eailer someone stated that it was a great place to go untill june then the cows got there and ruined it for the rest of the year. I also wasn’t aware that sage grouse used aspen groves, is this a new developement that I havn’t heard of? I also don’t understand how with all the grazing that its still prime sage chicken habbitat? If livestock and sage chickens don’t coesist than how can it be the last resver in the west for them? espesially if they are still grazing livestock there.

    I just don’t understand why green power is so bad all of a sudden, I think even if it has a few downfalls its way better than coal, natural gas, or nucler, all three of those take massive amounts of water, and water in my opion is way more valuable.

    As to the demamd for energry its simple math, as our population grows we will use more energy, as we switch from gas to electic cars we are going to have to generate that power someplace, it might as well be wind, or solar, they are the most pasive generation that we have ready and easy acccess to.

  36. outsider Avatar

    another thought I just came up with after rereading the posts, why don’t we just put the towers up only on areas that are currently being grazed? They are after all in your words “hamered” So what would we really be loseing?

  37. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Just a few stray comments, Outsider. Putting wind turbines and solar farms up over or in areas that are truly hammered is probably a good idea, although already at least one company is trying to argue that a tract in the Mohave is badly disturbed by cattle, when this is not true.

    Another comment . . . estimating the quantity of electricity that will demanded in future is not simple math. Simple extrapolation from the past only works if the price of electricity stays the same relative to other products, the cost of production stays the same per kilowatt hour, tastes and preferences of users stay the same, and the relative size and structure of government incentives or disincentives stays the same.

    This stable future is not a likely future, and you say so yourself in the second comment above. Therefore, the future amount of electricity demanded has many possible values

  38. Brian Ertz Avatar

    sorry, just busted off an appeal on spud creek, and am now waiting for a conference on the phantoms – will respond with numbers tonight, & jdub – I’m not the one cheerleading energy development -the onus is on the protagonist to justify rape of the earth – it should be you filling in numbers & qualifying why “renewables” are ‘better than’ on the ground about impact (or lack thereof) – how come I’m left with substantiation & all you guys have to do is whine about how I’m a prick – as if that were a legit argument that debases the substance of what I’ve already said ? Put up your own numbers & rationale …

  39. vickif Avatar

    Holy Crap you guys are heated up.
    Well here goes….
    You all have valid points, but as Brian doesn’t show belief in compromise, we have an example of the reason not one darn thing has changed.
    “It isn’t good enough” is Brian’s approach. He is right, it isn’t. But he is also hugely unrealistic, as it is more than we would have gotten five years ago, and all you will be getting for a while.
    Face it, Brian’s values are different than the MAJORITY of people’s. Not good enough or not, it is reality.
    As for sprawl, well become China and mandate population control measures (by the way-they are still among the most populous countries)-see how well it works, otherwise, get used to it.
    You cannot and will not fix any problem, this or otherwise, unless and until you realize what you actually have a chance in hell to change.
    You are missing it if you don’t see that the problem here is basic values. Change what people value and you will change how we consume things and produce things.
    The rest is just back ground noise. You can give all of the scientific data available. The probelm is not a scientific problem. The problem is an issue of perception. And American’s and most civilized countries perceive their convenience and comfort as a priority. Some of us perceive the preservation of the environment as one. Fix that and you solve the problem. Until then COMPROMISE so you don’t compound it.
    And anyone who has an inkling of a clue will realize in a quick hurry, you will not get the government (Obama lead or not) to raise the cost of energy while trying to over-come economic desaster.
    Oh, and elk chaser…come on, no habitat no elk. No water no elk. No more to conserve and reduce emmissions….NO ELK. That is also a reality.

  40. Brian Ertz Avatar

    wind does not replace coal – all the impacts of coal continue — wind is being green-lighted just as mountaintop permits are being green-lighted … all wind does is give LA & Vegas suburbanites more cheap energy to keep wasting it defying the natural environment ~ and keeping all those external vegas lights on 24/7 .

    let’s take one project for example :

    China Mountain

    China Mountain Impact to birds :
    at least 8 additional sage grouse leks exist on the project area. 11 known active leks are already impacted by meteorological towers. sage grouse are known to abandon wind farms and tall structures (where predators perch), just as they do with oil wells. Cumulative impact to sage-grouse is particularly egregious as you may remember the Murphy Complex Fire wiped out significant habitat of the bird previously in the Jarbidge, leaving this area among the last strongholds in the region. You may know, sage grouse are a bellwether species – their vitality on a landscape is generally reflective of the well-being of the ecological communities/landscape’s health itself – for a variety of species.

    Golden Eagles
    At least 6 Golden Eagle nests have been identified within the impact area of the project & transmission lines. Predatory birds are known to be bladed to death in significant numbers by wind farms.

    Migratory Birds
    Diverse bird species ride the winds of Browns Bench in their seasonal migrations. Those winds will carry the migratory birds into the blades of the turbines. There is little controversy about the fact that many, many birds are known to be bladed to death by wind farms.

    Some birds potentially affected include :
    Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse
    Western Burrowing Owl
    Black-throated Sparrow
    Long-billed Curlew
    Brewer’s Sparrow
    Sage Sparrow
    Lewis’ Woodpecker
    Olive-sided Flycatcher
    Loggerhead Shrike
    Willow Flycatcher
    Calliope Hummingbird
    Northern Goshawk
    Prairie Falcon
    Peregrine Falcon
    Hammond’s Flycatcher

    The BLM doesn’t even know the bats that may exist in the project area, but have proposed it none-the-less. Bats thought to potentially frequent the area include :

    Pallid Bat
    Yuma Myotis
    Western Pipistrelle

    As you have seen – bats are subjected to particularly grotesque impact via the change of air pressure in the wake of these wind farms causing their lungs to explode.

    There is a unique suite of bird, wildlife, landscape, and other values that

    As to the question of exactly how many bats will die — it’s an absurd question that no one can answer, obviously – if that’s the standard that you hold my qualification of my position to – well then, you ain’t worth the time. more importantly it misses the greater point entirely – or perhaps sets up a rediculous standard that not even you could fulfill (and again, i maintain that as the proponent of wind-rape of the earth, it is you who carries the onus to qualify your position, which you nor matt has done, instead opting – as so often is the case, to pretend like the fact that everyone can agree upon — me being a prick — is substantive reason to sidestep such inadequate response) – i can’t tell you how many birds or bats will die either way, but again, i can tell you how many coal generated kilowatts this wind project will displace – the answer is zero – goose-egg – nada – none. If you’re against coal – then work to stop & reduce coal, but making the choice to externalize that responsibility onto our children’s wildlife and public land opportunity via so-called giant “renewables”, so that vegas or LA can keep cheap enough energy to waste — i’ve got no respect for that. and by erecting a foundation for your argument that grants unfettered growth in demand as the given – a priori untouchable — well, you’ve just made the argument against taking meaningful steps to decomission coal that much easier to make. if we keep taking steps to make energy artificially cheap, the market will keep responding by demanding more — it will grow faster than we can build wind or solar to serve it, and the window to avoid any of the economic pain associated with taking coal off-line will be trivial – outpaced by the growth in demand fostered by the very wayward efforts employed to achieve such an end.

    this isn’t about climate change — it’s about the next energy industry taking its grab for market-share in a broken political system put up for-sale to the highest bidder.

    jdub – i’ll be waiting for your substantiation. how will energy development ever catch demand ? why, if it won’t/shouldn’t/doesn’t matter should we not bite the bullet now, and commit to real conservation by promoting a higher cost per unit of energy (and mitigate that cost via efficiency & a market incentive that rewards modest use) ? when will the coal plants be decommissioned ? which coal plants were inevitable, but precluded by a “renewable” source ? and if so, where is the evidence that such preclusion was a unique consequence of “renewable” development ?

    why is las vegas’ 24/7 illuminated external casino lights, LA’s unbridled sprawl, etc. more valuable than our children’s future opportunity at solace on those public landscapes slated for the butcher-block ?


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan