Some political advice for folks advocating for safe turbine siting at the county level.
Your county commissioners will not be moved by facts. They will be moved by political fear. If your plan for success involves urging the county government to take steps that require some blend of courage and intelligence, you will lose.
Politicians don’t make difficult and courageous decisions very often. They make lazy decisions based upon one simple basis: how can I make my life easy.
Your path to success must involve showing them that your group is a substantial portion of the electorate and that you are fired up and willing to do whatever it takes to stop this project. It is not enough for them to like you and agree with you. They have to fear you politically.
So it is critical to get them to the point of wanting you to go away and to the point that they are willing to give you whatever you want to make you go away INSTEAD of taking the wind loot. It is hard to do that with a quiet and dispassionate deliberation.
So you will have to identify what it will take to induce that level of political fear in your commissioners and the theme of your campaign that will move people against the project countywide and not just in the footprint of the project. Your commissioners will throw a portion of the county under the wind bus as long as the rest of the county gets the dough.
The wind industry knows this and that is why they talk about nothing but money, money, money, money…and money.
When Consumer’s Energy and DTE fought the 25×25 ballot initiative in 2012, their ads and commercials focused on one theme: wind energy is expensive and your utility bills will go up and up and up. The support for the initiative collapsed as that message was pushed across the state.
So you have to counter the wind loot with the wind costs.
“Wind energy is expensive and we just can’t afford to pay more.” That is the theme.
At the county level, health claims won’t work.
Property values work only to a limited degree though this varies a bit depending upon state law. But in general, people outside the project footprint don’t care.
Turbine noise is pooh poohed, flicker is scoffed at, birds are ignored.
The only thing that ALL people care about in your ENTIRE county is their pocket book. To get them on your side, you must emphasize that wind energy is high cost and low value and even though a few profit, we all pay through the nose while the leaseholders and developers laugh all the way to the bank.
This strategy worked for wind developers DTE and Consumer’s in 2012.
It will work for you.