NIMBY becomes NIML when it comes to windmills

15 Apr 2010

We all say we want alternative energy but when push comes to shove – do we? Most everyone knows the acronym NIMBY (not in my backyard) but with the large scale proposals to make windpower a key to the local utilities’ renewable portfolio standard compliance, a new acronym is arising – NIML – Not in my Lakes. Groups are springing up like weeds particularly in Ontario (which is pushing wind power even moreso than Michigan) to oppose the placement of these gigantic windturbines.

Their opposition ranges from issues during construction (contaminated sediment disruption possibly entering the drinking water supply) to operation (possible bird kills, noise 24-7, visual ‘pollution,’ and disruption of local environments to install the grid necessary to bring the power to market, among others).

Interestingly, these folks often are the ones who are calling for our society to get off of oil, coal and other fossil fuels. However, when it may have a direct impact on them, watch out! On the one hand, I understand the difficulty of adapting to the changes in how we will generate power; on the other, one wonders how will we ever get to that new “green economy”  if the answer is always “not in my backyard”?

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