Clean Air, Water in Trouble in South Dakota Due to Vocal Minority, NIMBY
Two clean air and water energy projects are in trouble in Minnehaha and Lincoln County.
Tuesday evening both the Sioux Falls City Council and the Minnehaha County Commission voted to deny a permit which would have allowed a solar energy company to build enough panels to power approximately 2,000 homes. The site of the proposal was on the north side 57th Street just west of the city limits.
News accounts lead one to believe the denial was based on attitude and perception rather than the substance of the project. Approximately 30 people were in opposition. The other nearly 200,000 people living in the county trusted the elected officials to do the right thing for us and America.
The applicant, Geronimo Energy, can reapply in six months.
In Lincoln County, Dakota Power Community Wind has appealed to the full County Commission the denial of permits to construct five wind test towers. The Lincoln County Planning Commission said no to the permits, responding to strong opposition from primarily urban residents living in a rural area who didn't even want the wind tested.
Wind and solar power are viable alternatives to coal, petroleum, and natural gas as fuel sources. Federal law, rules and regulations, and environmental interests are moving us away from fossil fuel use. Clean air and water are used as rallying points to push for alternatives.
While public policy is promoting wind and solar, individuals are proving they don't want those alternatives sources anywhere near their living space. The common phrase for this phenomenon is "Not In My Backyard" or NIMBY.
To the best of my knowledge, solar panels don't make noise, pollute the air, or cause degradation of water. I have stood beneath a wind turbine in northwest Iowa. That day, the wind itself was noisier than the blades of the turbine. It is possible that turbines may cause some noise issues, but like solar, they don't pollute the air, or water.
As a society, we, and our leaders, need to come to consensus on this issue. We can't be for alternative energy creation and yet be in opposition to any project which may be built near us.
Solar and wind projects, don't stink. They don't send carbon emissions into the air. They don't put chemicals into our water supply.
To my friends and acquaintances who oppose these projects, in the future you should buy the view you feel is so precious and you want to control.
The Sioux Falls City Council, the Minnehaha and Lincoln County Commissions should rise above the noise of protestors and deal with the merits of alternative energy projects and the specifics of the applications and their impact on all the citizens they represent.
If NIMBY is allowed to prevail, our region and country will be in more trouble than we are now.