Letter to the Editor: Unrealistic objections to offshore wind turbines

David T. Stevenson’s letter of Nov. 8 mostly dismissed the Nov. 3 letter by Joanne Cabry that challenged Stevenson’s Oct. 28 DSN Commentary entitled “Beach view under threat” from the offshore Skipjack wind farm project. I read all three pieces and I think Cabry had a good rebuttal to Stevenson. Stevenson claimed to be “…opposed to proposals to invest in poor public policy.”

Stevenson cited two “surveys” to back up his claim. Cabry cited a third which contradicted Stevenson’s studies. To be fair, you would really need to search for still more similar studies and have a deep look at most if not all of them. I would venture to say that the “perfect” study on anything probably does not exist. Many studies may be totally useless for multiple reasons. But don’t throw out a good study just because you don’t like how it ends. Beware of studies where political bias decides what the conclusion will be. You have to read all of many studies and ask questions.

My own reaction to Stevenson saying high numbers of beach homeowners will sell their homes and high numbers of tourists will stop coming because of a dinky object seen only by looking specifically and carefully at the horizon is that he is making a mountain out of a molehill. Just think of a crowded beach. Has anyone ever heard of anyone running away from the beach because ships and boats — miles away — are spoiling their view?

I find also suspicious Stevenson’s use of an economic analysis from a colleague at the same Caesar Rodney Institute with which he is affiliated. What are they “pushing”? Instead of trying to scare people into thinking wind propellers some 17 miles away will blow away up to “7,400 jobs” and up to “$887 million” in business, how about recognizing all the increased economic growth from real estate development and tons of retirees moving here and bringing tons of healthy pension money with them?

Big, expensive, and complicated projects deserve to be scrutinized and I don’t want to inhibit anyone or any group from pursuing their agendas or ideologies. However, before you “buy into” a given conclusion, please give equal attention to all sides of the issue, seek multiple opinions or studies, and try to also figure out if hidden agendas could be in the background to distort the analysis.

Climate change is going to be a very serious problem decades from now and some of the economic impacts just now being considered are going to make offshore windfarm issues look like kindergarden. Population growth in this state will continue to increase and I will bet there will be more complaints about traffic congestion than beach views.

The only other alternatives for electricity generation are more fossil or nuclear plants (which will need to be built somewhere nearby on land). And I wonder how the reaction to proposals for either of those projects will compare to that for the Skipjack wind farm project.

Arthur E. Sowers

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