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Thursday, October 01, 2009

DENNIS STILLINGS: PINWHEEL SCARS ON THE PRAIRIE SKYS



Wind farms are going up all over this area. Nearly 200 turbines are under construction north of Luverne right now, and another large phase of development, Ashtabula III, is scheduled to go up south of Interstate 94 in the near future. The Otesco wind project in Green Township will be carried out within 5 years. Green Township is a particularly attractive area with gentle hills that are very colorful in autumn. These graceful hills will soon be topped by 400-foot wind turbines. Other sprawling projects are being planned throughout the state, many of them in the scenic and historical Coteau region. Once these projects are completed, our prairie lands with their rolling hills, wooded ravines, lakes and streams will be blighted for a hundred years by innumerable wind turbines, monuments to environmentalist hubris and technological excess. This pinwheel junkyard will be the dominant feature of this area until the end of our lifetimes and the lifetimes of our children. There will be a generation of North Dakota children raised in Pinwheel Land who will have never seen, and will have no memory of, an unspoiled, uncluttered view. The black silhouettes of giant wind turbines will scar both sunrise and sunset. I have done quite a bit of work photographing the Grand Prairie countryside where I live as well as that of the surrounding area. I believe that it is important to give future generations a record of what these areas once looked like, and I am calling on all amateur photographers to pay more attention to the grand scenery of this region. It would be an important cultural and historical service for, say, the Obsessed Photographers to consider creating a pictorial record of our lost landscapes.

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Comments

The same kind of things could be said about the presence of oil facilities in the Badlands, the draglines of coal country, the railroads, the highways…even the replacement of pristine prairie with mono-cropping agriculture and eroded overgrazed prairies.

We all have a responsibility to do our individual parts in making these important signs of progress as environmentally non-invasive as possible. And one of the most important of these responsibilities is to make sure our great great great grandchildren have access to the “interest income” from a “Legacy Fund” to maintain basic transportation and other infrastructure needs in the long term future.

Such a “Legacy fund” measure will be on the statewide ballot; we should all begin to support the concept with friends and neighbors toward its passage into law.

Lynn Bergman on October 1, 2009 at 07:08 pm
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