Wind Moratorium Proposal Splits Environmental Community

Feb 19, 2013

Northern Pass and Wind Farm opponent showed their approval for various speakers by waving their fingers, after having been told not to applaud.
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

The controversy over the development of wind farms in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire has caused a split in the state’s environmental groups. That split was on display during a hearing over a proposed moratorium on wind development.

Wind opponents came to Concord with two busloads of residents from the Newfound Lake Region, who gave heated testimony, like that from Campton’s Thomas Anninger. "Wind towers are clean energy. That means no C02 or very little," Anninger said, "The major downside of these wind towers they require an enormous amount of space. And it’s not just ordinary space, it is our mountaintops, it is those high forests, it is the ridgelines that I think define with is beautiful about New Hampshire."

This is exactly the conundrum that splits the environmental community. 

The Sierra Club, The Nature Conservancy, and the Conservation Law Foundation oppose a wind moratorium, which the Sierra Club’s Catherine Corkery calls using a fire-hose to put out a match. These groups say a moratorium would impede progress being made toward the states renewable energy goals.

Meanwhile the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, the Audubon Society, and the Appalachian Mount Club support putting a temporary hold on projects. They say state officials don’t have a comprehensive set of criteria for siting wind-farms but are instead quote “essentially making it up as they go along.”