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Sierra Club spin is tough to stomach

In November, the Sierra Club did a presentation on placing turbines in Lake Erie.

I am compelled to respond to the commentary (Nov. 9) by a member of the Sierra Club headlined “Organization keeps high standards.” It was filled with many inaccuracies that need brought to light.

¯ First, the writer claims the Sierra Club is not aligned with money or politics. Oh really? She conveniently failed to mention the $50 million, plus ongoing donations from Michael Bloomberg to the Sierra Club to promote his anti-coal and Beyond Carbon political agenda.

¯ Contrast the Sierra Club’s aggressive and indiscriminate promotion of wind projects with the stance of the John Muir Trust. Please see articles:

“Trust Applauds Rejection of Major Wind Farms in Wild Land Areas”:“We acknowledge the need for renewable energy but unnecessarily wrecking one part of the environment in exchange for another doesn’t make sense.” said Andrew Bachell, chief executive of the John Muir Trust.

On the flip side — “John Muir Trust: Wind Farms Are Totally Useless”: It was a surprise to find out just how disappointingly wind turbines perform in a supposedly wind-ridden country like Scotland. Based on the data, for one third of the time wind output is less than 10% of capacity, compared to the 30% that is commonly claimed.”

State wind projects have a similarly low 10% effective capacity factor — what electricity can actually be produced and used. New York state’s typical wind project will reduce CO2 emissions by a negligible 0.05%, per developer Invenergy, Number Three Wind Project.

¯ I attended the League of Women Voter’s sponsored, Sierra Club wind energy presentation. Contrary to what we were told, they would not allow all the written questions to be asked or answered. Very few questions were read, obviously cherry-picked to control the narrative. How is this open or transparent?

¯ I almost fell out of my chair when the speaker claimed wind turbines are safe for the Great Lakes, the world’s largest fresh water source and drinking water for millions, won’t stir up decades of toxic sludge, also claimed they do not leak oil and only contain several gallons of oil and lubricants. That is a blatantly and dangerously false statement. Please see the following articles — leaking oil is not uncommon.

Oil Leaks at Thumb Not a Rarity. Exelon the wind project developer, stated the fallen turbine contained 400 gallons of oil. Investigation Launched Into Hydraulic Leaks at the Ocotillo Wind Farm.

Dirty Secret Behind Wind Turbines — They Need Lots of Oil — published by Forbes

“Consider just installing the foundation of a single offshore turbine can consume 18,857 barrels of marine fuel during construction. Offshore wind projects often have over 100 wind turbines, meaning that building them requires almost 2 million barrels of fuel just to power ships involved in construction”.

¯ Science Technology — Oct. 4, 2018 — The Downside To Wind Power

In two papers … in the journals Environmental Research Letters and Joule … Harvard University researchers find that the transition to wind or solar power in the U.S. would require five to 20 times more land than previously thought, and, if such large-scale wind farms were built, would warm average surface temperatures over the continental U.S. by 0.24 degrees Celsius. “For wind, we found that the average power density — meaning the rate of energy generation divided by the encompassing area of the wind plant — was up to 100 times lower than estimates by some leading energy experts,” one expert said.

¯ Industrial scale wind turbine blades are not recyclable-looming environmental disaster. “One wind farm in Glenrock, Wyo., and two from the Saratoga area have partnered with the Casper Regional Landfill to dispose of their old wind turbine blades. More than 900 blades will be brought to the landfill beginning now until the end of next spring.”

It is beyond disturbing to witness the Sierra Club’s fall from the grace and vision of their founder, the remarkable John Muir. It is instead pursuing a political agenda that is the antithesis of true conservation and environmentalism.

Joni Riggle is a Sinclairville resident.

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