Thursday, January 06, 2011

Mr. Blumenthal’s Wind

Two or three days before Attorney General Richard Blumenthal resigned his post and assumed his new responsibilities as a U. S. Senator, he let fly one of his last media releases, possibly a souvenir of his 20 year tenure. Even on his way out the door, Mr. Blumenthal could not resist tilting at one more windmill.

In a media release sent to the usual suspects, the senator-elect announced plans to seek “standards” for wind farms.

Acknowledging that new “green energy projects are critical,” Mr. Blumenthal pointed out in his last communiqué with Connecticut media as attorney general that the elegant wind turbines, which have offended the aesthetic sensibilities of such pro-greenists as the late Sen. Edward Kennedy and some of the Kennedy brood who summer in Hyannisport, must be correctly sited “to avoid significant damage to the environment or quality of life in the region.”

One does not quite know what the senator-elect may have meant when he singled out “quality of life” as one of the determining factors in the siting process.

We do know that the late Senator Edward Kennedy’s quality of life was forever ruined by the possibility of a windmill popping up between himself and the horizon stretching out over Nantucket Sound as seen from his family’s six acre waterfront property on Cape Cod . The “lion of the senate” adamantly refused to allow even a sliver from a wind turbine to drop into his eye, all the while shoving regulatory logs into the eyes of greedy capitalists and modest entrepreneurs who scarred Mother Earth with their abhorrent life-destroying businesses.

It is an additional a mystery in what sense a green energy project could significantly “damage the environment.” Green technology is designed to save the environment from non-green destructive energy production. Wind farms are good; belching power plants that rely on dirty energy, however abundant, are bad. The political ethics involved here are black and white. There are no shades of grey.

In any case, as attorney general Mr. Blumenthal has operated daily in the firm and unshakable conviction that there never can be too many regulations on private businesses; though it must be said he was loathed during his two decade tenure as attorney general to impose costly and occasionally crippling “standards” on agencies he is required by statute to represent.

As attorney general, Mr. Blumenthal has proposed standards for everything from fruit loops to advertisements in publications such as the Village Voice that, in the opinion of the attorney general and his resolute army of Cotton Mathers, MIGHT lead to prostitution. Pondering a list of the companies Mr. Blumenthal sued as attorney general would cramp the brain of any non-lawyer, and it cannot be a sign of peace that Mr. Blumenthal released his poison pen letter to numerous media outlets on the subject of wind farms.

When Mr. Blumenthal a few months ago released his philippic against wood furnaces, farmers from Litchfield to New London and Fairfield to Windham began to tremble on their tractors. Many sons of the soil in Connecticut had over the years come to rely on wood furnaces to defray the cost of energy, driven up by people like Blumenthal and other greenies who wanted the state to shake off permanently its reliance on dirty energy. After Mr. Blumenthal issued his obiter dicta on wood furnaces, one could almost hear farmers in the four corners of the state sobbing: How much is THIS going to cost me?

“Green energy will undermine its purpose,” Mr. Blumenthal blustered in what many hoped might be his final spout as attorney general, “if we fail to develop sound standards to protect against damage to the environment and quality of life.

“Wind farms may have a place and purpose -- but not at the cost of destroying pristine forests. These projects must be subject to scrutiny and sound standards. Clear standards will provide certainty to businesses seeking to build wind farms in Connecticut , encouraging their development in sites that meet those standards.

“Renewable sources of energy such as wind should be encouraged, but we must be very careful as to how and where, so as to prevent any adverse health and safety impact on neighborhoods or on the environment generally.”

At least one report on wind turbines has cautioned that wind farms may not be a useful energy source in Connecticut because the state lacks sufficient wind: Former senator and governor Lowell Weicker is retired and Mr. Blumenthal has gone to Washington to blow hot and cold over a clueless congress. At least former attorney’s general powers of destruction have now been trimmed. In the beltway, he will be one more belch in Babel on the Potomac , a small regulator in a big regulation pond.
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