Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Going Bananas

One cliched acronym - NIMBY (not in my backyard) - has given way to a new cliched acronym: BANANA: Build absolutely nothing, anyhere near anything. There are sometimes legitimate issues with siting industrial or generation plants near population centres, or in sensitive ecological zones, I'll be the first to concede.

But what's incredibly frustrating is the near-universal reaction against wind power farms. This isn't to say that the opposition to wind power is widespread - it isn't. If anything, the opposition is usually a small but vocal minority. But it does crop up everywhere where a wind farm does.

As far as I can tell, there are two reasons why the opposition succeeds as they do is a) the media, who love a "environmentalist fratricide" story, and b) the application process for these farms.

As frustrating as they are, I'm not so short-sighted as to propose reducing the regulatory burden on wind farms - they should pass any environmental assessment with flying colours, anyway. And cases where they can't would have to be pretty obviously bad.

That leaves the media. Could reporters please stop treating wind farm opponents like they have, oh, any credibility? My ability to breathe clean air and have a liveable planet in the next fifty years doesn't take second place to your view.

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