Last week Senator Tom Brewer used 1,256 words in an opinion piece in the Chadron Record to argue against wind power development, especially in the 23,600 square mile expanse of Nebraska’s Sandhills. Not once did he mention climate change.
I appreciate his concern for the plants and animals and the people of the Sandhills. It is a unique and beautiful area which should not be further disrupted. The World Wildlife Fund estimates that up to 85% of the Sandhills is still ecologically intact. Which means at least 15%, or 3540 square miles, have been developed, or “destroyed” to use Sen. Brewer’s terminology, much of by center pivot irrigation and roads. Wind power development must not add to this destruction and an amendment should be added to Brewer’s LB504 to protect the Sandhills from all forms of development.
The larger problem, which overshadows the whole discussion and which Sen. Brewer completely ignores, is climate change. If we do not reduce our emission of greenhouse gasses soon, the Sandhills as we know them will not be there to argue over. That ecosystem and that way of life will be destroyed. Ignoring the issue will not make it go away.
Opposing wind turbines on ecologically undisturbed areas is applaudable. Completely ignoring the issue that necessitates the development of clean energy is irresponsible.
I ask that Senator Brewer amend his bill, LB504, to include limitations on all types of development on intact Sandhills lands, and allow clean energy development in areas that have been previously seriously disturbed.