Monday, November 21, 2011

There are some who call me....Tim.

A few years ago, a kindly group of investment bankers, high-net worth individuals and consultants willing to help*, persuaded some neighbors in New Hampshire to take relatively paltry sums to give their land over to industrial wind turbines**. Many signed up. Rumor had it that they were getting up to $6,000 per year which is a nice supplement to income, especially in this rural town. Of course, flatlanders such as myself were against the whole idea.

I share with my brothers a small cottage built by my great uncle back in the 50s. It's on a small pond that fishes poorly but we don't go up there to see industrial power stations, we go for the whole nature thing. Fortunately our house faces west and the turbines are up to the north.

New Hampshire is a live-free-or-die kind of place. Our town has no zoning cause folks want to be able to paint their house pink (a statement made at a town hall meeting) or put a half-dozen broken down school buses in there front lawn if they want without have to worry if their neighbors don't like that. I admire their pioneer spirit (sarcasm intended).

Of course, one wonders what the town will do in a couple dozen years. The tax benefits for wind will expire. The turbines will become derelict. The Limited Liability Corporations established to manage the towers will declare bankruptcy (if they ever had any assets to begin with). And, the town and its six hundred residents will be left to wonder how such a furry little bunny could be such a powerhouse of destruction and ruin.

This past weekend there was a fine article in the New York Times about the experience that a small burg in Pennsylvania has had with the whole fracking thing. As anglers, we've been concerned about the long term impact on fisheries but most of these folks were dealing with issues like putting food on the table, paying property taxes and putting their kids through school. Having a well on your property was like winning the lottery.

Of course, the lottery in Amwell Township includes inexplicable illness, dead animals and a pile of money and pollution. Fortunately, all the studies that the drillers have done point no blame at the drillers. I'm glad the regulatory agencies are on top of this (there's that sarcasm again, sorry).

Be sure to check out the video in the article. I especially like the image twenty four seconds in. I'm sure that milky white liquid that's flowing directly into a river is harmless***.

Beware of cute little bunnies bearing gifts. That crazy guy with the horns on his head is usually correct. Just look at the bones of past mining and drilling endeavors. At best that gift'll turn into a rusty pile of scrap metal. At worst, you'll lose your head. And that of your children. And your dogs. And pigs. And llamas.****

And now, for something completely different.

* Before you send money to your utility company for green energy, check to see if their green energy partner actually owns any green energy power plants. My gut tells me if you counted up all the kilowatts of green energy sold each year to consumers you would find it's more than the total green energy produced. And that "extra" money (along with most of the rest) is a payment directly to some rich investor.
** Some folks call these windmills. Technically, a correct statement, though charming dutch wind mills they're not. And they are a beautiful from an industrial design perspective with a heavy emphasis on the word industrial.
*** I promise, that's my last sarcastic remark.
**** More like humor (such as it is), not sarcasm.