Thursday, May 28, 2009

Not in MY back yard...

In parts of Columbia County, the rural landscape is dotted with signs saying “No Wind Farm” and “No Wind Turbines”. There’s been a wind-farm project pending in three townships up there for some time, and it’s supposed to start construction in about a year. If it ever gets final approval, there’d be about a hundred turbines built.

Now, there are allegations of coziness between a couple town board members with the developer, and strong protestations from the NIMBY’s. If you’re not familiar with the acronym, it means “Not In My Back Yard” and some of the people whose back yards are involved, and first supported the wind farm, are now against it.

Apparently they’ve been on that darned internet again, finding all sorts of information that wind turbines lead to nausea, strange noises, and all manner of bad things including dizziness. The developer, WE Energies, told a reporter for Channel 3 that there are no credible studies to support the stuff the NIMBY’s are worried about.

Sorta like those folks up in Poynette who got on that internet and found all sorts of stuff that says fluoride is a bad, bad thing - like puttin’ poison in the water. Did I mention they want to build these turbines in farm fields, not residential areas?

I know something about NIMBY’s because I was one, back in the late 80’s and early 90’s. I owned a house in the Burr Oaks neighborhood on Madison’s south side, and it was at a time when the city wanted to site every possible half-way house and social rehab facility on the south side. Our alder, Tim “Boss” Bruer, heard the property owners loud and clear, and talked sense to the city. He’s still the alder there, and still fighting the good fight.

When I lived in southern California, it was NIMBY heaven. They were everywhere. Talk about people who get involved in causes…..L-A was cause central. There was a sub-set of NIMBY’s who called themselves LULU’s - against Locally Unwarranted (or Unwanted) Land Use. And there were the NOPE’s. Not just in my back yard….Not On Planet Earth.

I’m not making this up.

Southern Californians are laid-back, but they can be pretty serious when they want to be. Madison can come close, but so far, I haven’t heard of any BANANA’s here. Build Absolutely Noting Anywhere Near Anyone. And there’s a faction in the golden state that calls itself “TEDAO”. Tear Everything Down At Once.

Madisonians will debate the routing of that new high-tension line ATC wants to build across Dane County, till the cows come home. They’re NIMBY’s, like the folks in Columbia County, but both are a long way from TEDAO’s. Thank heaven.

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