We Need To Learn From Past Mistakes

I live very close to a national forest–a very large national forest. Watching what has happened in California makes me wonder how safe I am here. However, I am also aware that controlled burns in the national forest here are a part of summer life. I should also mention that generally there is enough rain during the summer to make these burns safe. Unfortunately that is not always the case in California, and sometimes a controlled burn is simply not practical. However, there are other ways to clear out brush and possible fuel for a fire.

The Washington Times posted an article about the California fires on Friday. What has happened in California is horrific, and we need to do everything we can to prevent it happening in the future.

The article reports:

A national logging organization is offering support to President Trump following catastrophic wildfires in California and a political debate over the causes of the destructive blazes.

“President Trump blamed poor forest management for wildfires in California and throughout the West, and there is truth to statements he has made,” said Daniel Dructor, executive vice president of the American Loggers Council, a coalition of state and regional associations that represents independent contract loggers.

“It’s time to rise above political posturing and recognize that active forest management — including logging, thinning, grazing and controlled burning — are tools that can and must be used to reduce fire risks and help mitigate the impacts to landscapes,” Mr. Dructor said in a statement.

According to the council, some 60 million to 80 million acres of national forest are at “high, to very high, risk of catastrophic wildfire.”

Citing research from the U.S. Forest Service, the council backs such methods as thinning stressed trees and prescribed burns to reduce wildfires but said “only a small fraction of high-risk acres are being treated.”

Mr. Dructor advised the Trump administration and Congress to expand public-private partnerships to manage the problem.

The article concludes:

Loggers are America’s ‘boots on the ground’ to conserve our forests and reduce the risks of wildfire,” council president Chris Potts said in a statement.

We work in the woods every day, we understand forestry and see the dangers every day, and we know what needs to be done. Without forests, we are out of business. That’s why we’ll continue to work with Republicans and Democrats on needed reforms that will help to sustain our forests and protect our forests and communities from wildfire,” he said.

Lumber is a renewable resource. A properly managed forest can continue indefinitely. Good forest management will not only provide jobs and resources, it will create a healthy environment for wildlife and avoid the environmental catastrophe that the California forest fires have been.

More Questions Than Answers

 

I am posting this article because I honestly do not know what the truth of the matter is. I saw some people interviewed on television today regarding this, and I honestly don’t know if their objections are valid or not, so here is the story.

On February 6, Cape News reported on the possible impact of the Falmouth Board of Selectmen’s decision last week to remove the two town-owned wind turbines at the wastewater treatment facility. The article stated that the removal of the turbines might have an impact on other planned projects throughout the nation.

The article reports:

The Falmouth Wind Turbine Options Process reported that removing the turbines would cost the town $9 to $9.4 million. Last week, Assistant Town Manager Heather B. Harper told selectmen that number could be as high as $11.9 million. Town Manager Julian M. Suso said yesterday that there are many unknowns about the process of removing turbines. “Some work lies ahead to be certain what costs are appropriately in that figure,” he said.

Falmouth is seeking help from the state to relieve some of the financial burden of removing the turbines. Last week, Mr. Suso sent a letter to Massachusetts Clean Energy Center Chief Executive Officer Alicia Barton McDevitt, asking for relief from some of the money owed on the town-owned turbines. He asked the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center to consider relieving the town of any obligation to repay the $1 million in renewable energy credits that will not be produced if the turbines are removed.

At the same time Falmouth is reaching out to state representatives for help paying the debt associated with the turbines. “The board has directed that we contact other appropriate state officials regarding further assistance to the Town in regard to the very significant financial obligation related to this removal and dismantling,” Mr. Suso wrote in a letter to the Clean Energy Center.

The article explains why the turbines are being removed:

If Falmouth voters agree to remove the turbines, it could be the first case anywhere in the country of commercial-sized turbines coming down within three years of being installed because of noise and health complaints of residents.

Massachusetts did a Wind Turbine Health Impact Study in January 2012. I am not a scientific type, but after reading some of the study, it seems as if there is a strong possibility that wind turbines can negatively impact the sleep of the residents who live near them. The couple I saw interviewed on television specifically stated that their sleep had been disrupted.

The report states on Page 13:

2.  There is limited evidence from epidemiologic studies suggesting an association between noise from wind turbines and sleep disruption. In
other words, it is possible that noise from some wind turbines can cause sleep disruption.
3.  A very loud wind turbine could cause disrupted sleep, particularly in vulnerable populations, at a certain distance, while a very quiet wind turbine would not likely disrupt even the lightest of sleepers at that same distance. But there is not enough evidence to provide particular sound-pressure thresholds at which wind turbines cause sleep disruption. Further study would provide these levels.
4.  Whether annoyance from wind turbines leads to sleep issues or stress has not been sufficiently quantified. While not based on evidence of wind turbines, there is evidence that sleep disruption can adversely affect mood, cognitive functioning, and overall sense of health and well-being.

I am not opposed to alternative energy. I am opposed to pushing a form of alternative energy before we get the bugs worked out of it. This will be a rather expensive boondoggle for Falmouth and probably for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

 

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