Weathermen break our forecast into two parts–sustained winds and wind gusts, as in “We will have SUNNY skies today with sustained winds at 40-50 miles per hour with gusts up to 70!” Somehow they always make it sound so…bubbly.
So it’s really no surprise that places like this are quite attractive to the wind industry. Just south of my home a large wind farm is planned to break ground any day. To the west turbines are springing up all across the sage covered prairie. To the southwest plans are speeding along for the largest wind farm in the world.
As a hunter and angler, I have a certain glass half empty/glass half full attitude toward this massive development.
On the half empty side, we here in Wyoming, and indeed across the west have been burned many times by the promise of responsible development. Every turbine that goes up on public land represents more acres that are disturbed, more acres that are off limits and more acres that are no longer wildlife friendly.
So it goes without saying that a little foresight would be a welcome addition to the expansion of these renewable projects.
And here at TU, as anglers, as hunters, as conservationists–we have a stake in that.
Enter: The Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act or H.R. 6154
This bill would put money from renewable royalties back into fish and wildlife, preparing for a future where we can have both: clean energy and clean, cool water–domestically sourced power and healthy game herds. It would create a competitive lease system, which would help plan those wind and solar farms, and put them in places that make sense for everyone involved. And perhaps most importantly, as a bipartisan bill, wonder of wonders, it actually stands a chance of passing congress.
Which brings us to the half full side. These are renewable energy sources for a country that desperately needs to plan for long term energy needs. Clean energy is a good thing. Developing said energy responsibly and thoughtfully? Also a good thing. Developing it with a goal of maintaining our game herds and coldwater fisheries?
Not just good–revolutionary.