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UPDATE! The gulf disaster, wind energy and our future.

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UPDATE: Obama suspending due diligence into drilling off the coast of Virgina. I think it’s a bit of pandering, truthfully. So, prior to the BP gulf spill, off-shore rigs were sturdy and the concept was solid. Now, it’s not? So are we to assume that the administration approved the idea of drilling off of the east coast without understanding that yes, sometimes, a rig will leak/explode/cause environmental calamity?

I’m all for finding someway to solve our energy issues but the administration has to demonstrate a firm understanding of the risks.

It was just over a month ago that President Obama announced plans to pursue an energy plan based on the U.S. drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico and along additional national seaboards. Apparently, that was all the segue needed for the next environmental disaster to strike one of our coastlines.

So—getting right to it—what’s the solution?

Clearly, the BP rig’s explosion is the exception, far from the rule. But one exception is all it takes to cause reparable harm to the commercial fishing industry, recreation areas and coastal and submarine wildlife environs.

While wind farms are gaining traction, as evidenced by approval granted for the Cape Wind project near Martha’s Vineyard in Nantucket Sound, they remain highly controversial and take years to gain approval. Primarily, local citizens and governments oppose the impact on the affected scenery, especially on coastlines and along mountain ridges, like in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains.

Keepers of the Blue Ridge is a well-organized grassroots effort against commercial wind development in Western North Carolina. All of their reasons are easily justifiable and conceptually, difficult to lobby against. In their effort, the Keepers disparage the entire concept of wind energy as a bloated, inefficient creation of an overzealous and opportunistic industry. I’m not so sure that’s true.

So, in opposing cleaner, alternative energy sources, how do you remain dedicated to the bigger picture? Do we really need an alternative to oil? Or just some additional resources to help offset our dependency?

As a lover of the outdoors, I tend to agree that mountainside wind turbines sure would make a trail break not as worth taking if the view was marred by 200 foot pinwheels. Their construction requires new access roads and extended interaction with wilderness by workers and heavy machinery.

Yet, I can understand the need. If it helps augment a movement toward cleaner and most importantly, renewable energy, then isn’t that a good thing?

I honestly don’t know. It’s a very tough debate. Any ideas?

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