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Perception deceptions rampant in wind industry

Mary Hartman — Republican Eagle — July 28, 2012

If citizens are going to foot the bill for alternative energy, it is important we base this decision on facts, not assumptions or perceptions.

Many U.S. citizens and some public officials believe wind energy has a proven scientific benefit: it will reduce global warming and decrease dependence upon foreign oil. This is factually wrong and is a carefully managed perception: a perception deception.

The following is a pdf from Westwood Professional Services, a national land survey group that aides wind energy developers: (http://www.westwoodps.com/_asset/2xc5v1/Wildlife-Consultants.pdf)

How much does science matter?

• Permitting decisions are based on politics rather than science

• Perception is reality

• Influence the perception of decision-makers

 

This document makes it clear that perceptions about wind energy and environmental impacts are managed to influence people to fulfill a political agenda.

If “perception is reality,” actual science does not matter — as long as people believe what they are told. It appears environment and global warming are cited to further perception deception so elected officials will continue to fund this industry and taxpayers will be happy to pay to do what’s right to save the planet.

Verifiable scientific data help unravel perception deceptions. This happened when AWA Goodhue submitted a pre-construction avian and bat survey that acknowledged eagle nests outside the project footprint, but said no nests or eagles were found inside the footprint.

Westwood nullified agency concerns about adverse impacts to eagles by counting birds that did not pose a risk to the developer, then denied the existence of the eagles that do pose a risk to the developer, creating the perception that the eagle issue was adequately addressed. This is a perception deception.

Science won a rare wind industry victory when established nesting populations in the footprint were reported by citizens, verified by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and their existence acknowledged by the Minnesota’s Public Utilities Commission.

Dwindling planetary resources and concerns about global climate change should cause Americans to become more conscientious consumers. If we are to be good stewards of the environment and smart consumers of natural resources, we need to base decisions about energy policy on science, not carefully crafted perceptions aimed at forwarding a political ideology.

 

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