The USDA is considering allowing a private company to put a wind farm in the Huron-Manistee National Forest. While that might sound good, I found out there are some big problems with it.
The proposed action follows in the next email (apparently the feds are a bit too windy, even for the ever-patient Enviro-Mich, which autobounced it at 48k!)
There are two meetings to discuss it. We can't be there so we wrote a letter, below. Please feel free to use it and send in your comments. They are asking for letters by Oct. 12.
Scoping Meeting #1: September 30, 2008, at the Ramada Inn, 4079 W.
U.S. 10, Ludington, MI. An open house format will be used. The public
is welcome between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Scoping Meeting #2: October 1, 2008, at the Days Inn, 1462 U.S.
Hwy. 31, Manistee, MI. An open house format will be used. The public is
welcome between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Thanks for all you do for the Earth,
Re: White Pines Wind Farm Project
Cadillac-Manistee Ranger District
Huron-Manistee National Forests
ATTN: Barry Paulson, Forest Supervisor
Dear Mr. Paulson:
We are writing as homeowners residing much of the year in Mason County in the Manistee National Forest. Also, we are taxpayers who are stakeholders in our national forests, and frequent recreational users of local national forest lands.
We are proponents of alternative energy, and supportive of alternative measures to reduce the nationʼs dependence on foreign oil. We take a dim view of offshore drilling, especially in the Great Lakes. So we will be watching the White Pines Wind Farm Project with keen interest.
This location is next to Nordhouse Dunes, northern Michiganʼs only Wilderness Area. It is our understanding that the current two-tracks will be widened to 80-foot wide roads to accommodate this project, and likely to expand to 100-foot wide as brush is commonly mowed. This requirement will destroy the experience of walking on canopied two-track trails. It is especially objectionable since it will affect old-growth forest. Forest fragmentation will adversely affect habitat for wildlife.
Corporations find it beneficial to do business on national forest land because it is cheaper than siteing on private land, and it doesnʼt require the same level of scrutiny, zoning and public hearings as privately held property. While this benefits corporations, it does so at the expense of the owners of the property, the taxpayers, who will not be compensated at fair market value for it. Additionally, construction of infrastructure such as county roads would be at local homeownersʼ tax expense, which is of questionable benefit to the taxpayers.
We understand that the project is essentially a no-bid contract. Considering the sordid history of American taxpayers funding and subsidizing no-bid contracts in the Iraq War, we believe the government, including the National Forest Service, needs to avoid perpetuating this scandalous practice.
We have been told that studies have shown siteing the turbines in this location would have little effect on migratory birds. If this is true, we are pleased with that finding. However, we understand that bats are disoriented by the turbines, resulting in a notable death rate, which is of particular concern.
Given these objections, we are unable to support the White Pines Wind Farm Project in the Huron-Manistee National Forests. We support wind power but believe this site is wrong for this project.
Please send an electronic copy of the DEIS to (your email address here).
Sherry Hayden and Mike Keeler
(your phone number required)