Privileged, Facebook Driven NIMBYs Blocking Clean Energy

April 17, 2022

Media finally picking up on the prevalence of misinformed and often privileged Facebook warriors `holding up clean energy with bogus claims (see WSJ article below). This is a major part of the work I’m currently doing.

The Hampton’s kerfuffle described in the Wall Street Journal this week, is a clear case of privileged twits asserting their “right” to never be inconvenienced by all the things that us “little people” take for granted. What’s not normally understood is that there is a similar dynamic here in the midwest – where the fights most often break down to the landowners, usually farmers, who are trying to diversify their income in an always challenging industry, vs newcomers usually with a ranchette on an acre or two, sometimes a horse, who view the farmers not as stewards of the land, bedrock of the community, and (often) 3 to 5th generation residents of the area, but rather merely as groundskeepers whose job it is to maintain an unchanging backdrop for newcomer’s “lifestyle”.
Add to that some fossil fuel operatives with a mission to add as much misinformation (see video below) and manipulate as much culture-war confusion as possible, and you’ve got a toxic mix.
Their strategy is always to intimidate local township boards into creating an ordinance that gives a one acre owner veto power over the surrounding square mile of other people’s agriculturally zoned land.

You may know Marty Lagina from his History Channel show The Curse of Oak Island – but Marty made his money first as an Oil/gas guy, but more recently developing wind and solar projects in the upper midwest.
I interviewed him a few years ago about the conflict between overbearing NIMBYs and longtime landowners.

Wall Street Journal:

A dozen giant wind turbines are on track to start spinning roughly 50 miles offshore from some of the country’s ritziest beach towns. That is unless last-ditch efforts by local residents can stop one of the country’s first offshore wind projects.

South Fork Wind will power 70,000 homes around East Hampton, N.Y., when it starts generating electricity next year. Construction began recently after a six-year approval process from federal, state and local governments. 

One of the few remaining snags could be a group of residents of the exclusive hamlet of Wainscott who don’t want the cable carrying power from the windmills to be buried under a street that runs to the beach. Even though digging has begun, they are still waging legal battles on several fronts that could delay construction or further complicate the project. 

Local opposition to renewable-energy projects from large-scale solar farms to windmills on land and sea is delaying and sometimes halting the shift away from fossil fuels. 

More than 200 wind and solar projects face local opposition, according to Columbia University’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, which backs green projects through a pro bono partnership with the law firm Arnold & Porter. That is up from roughly 165 in September. The Sabin Center worked for a group of residents who argued in favor of South Fork.

The rising opposition could be due to the rising number of projects. Analysts say it is too early to tell whether renewable-energy projects face the same level of opposition as oil-and-gas drilling, pipelines and electricity transmission lines. 

Shifting to renewable energy has gained increased urgency as evidence of climate changemounts. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has driven up prices of oil and gas, making renewables more attractive while highlighting the risks of being dependent on foreign sources of energy. 

The opposition to the Hamptons project is centered on Beach Lane in Wainscott, a hamlet of about 650 people where the average home sells for more than $3 million. Beach Lane turns into sand when it hits Wainscott Beach, which stretches for miles along the Atlantic Ocean in either direction.

The windmills won’t be visible from there, nor will the cable carrying the electricity they generate. The power line will make landfall on Wainscott Beach and run underneath Beach Lane. Construction is planned primarily for cooler months, when many houses are unoccupied, and the cable will be undetectable from above ground, the project’s owners say.

Opponents say they support the project and clean power but feel the cable’s installation will disrupt residential life and contaminate the area. Other routes would be less intrusive, they argue.

I posted recently on the latest nothing-burger anti-wind story – for more shareable resources on this, see my pages




2 Responses to “Privileged, Facebook Driven NIMBYs Blocking Clean Energy”

  1. ubrew12 Says:

    East Hampton, NY promises not to be inconvenienced by six feet of sea level rise.

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