It’s obvious to those of us who hike that open spaces, especially those along ridgelines, tend to be breezy spots. We love climbing to those inspiring heights for the solitude, the unspoiled views, and the sense of accomplishment they provide, wind or no wind.
Energy developers covet many of the same places here in the Northeast, not so much for the values we cherish, but simply, and specifically, for the wind.
AMC supports renewable energy, but we also stand for protection of the mountains and our increasingly shrinking open space.
We recognized years ago that increasing demand for electricity would undoubtedly lead to a proliferation of energy projects, and that open spaces we treasure for outdoor recreation and spiritual renewal would be continually at risk.
Accordingly, AMC has advocated for states’ adoption of wind power siting guidelines that help prevent development in inappropriate landscapes and direct it to places better suited. Over the past two decades, we have been actively engaged with both legislative and rule-making efforts in Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire to develop laws and siting criteria that require the best available mitigation tools and provide stronger protection to important ecological, recreational, and aesthetic values.
How can AMC support renewable energy and oppose a windpower project? We speak up and intervene when specific projects threaten important recreational resources, rare species, and critical ecological values. Through these processes, we have negotiated significant off-site land conservation to mitigate project impacts.
In related actions, we opposed the Susquehanna-Roseland power line route through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and continue to fight the proposed Northern Pass transmission line in New Hampshire due to its impacts on places of regional and national significance, including the White Mountain National Forest.
We have to ask some serious questions about our energy supply as costs, technologies, and regulations change. No longer does the old centralized energy generation and distribution model make sense. Why build more power plants to satisfy periods of peak demand when much of the time they sit idle? Why not develop energy strategies that save critical open space instead?
With smart grid metering, utility customers can see when their power consumption will cost them less, and plan their electricity use accordingly. Distributed generation from greatly improved technologies, such as solar panels on homes and office buildings, turn energy users into on-site energy sources. These strategies, in turn, lessen the need for new power plant development and help protect open spaces from being converted into industrial landscapes.
Creating such systems of distributed energy is another critical opportunity to move us to a new energy future.
We will continue to work with states, communities, regulators, and policy-makers to help transform the way energy is created, distributed, consumed, and conserved. The future of the special outdoor places we care for depends on it.
CALL TO ACTION
John D. Judge