This is why we can't have nice things:
Brown, whose district includes the largest Marine base on the East Coast, believes the turbines could interfere with military radar or flight routes, and cause Department of Defense officials to close, downsize, or relocate military installations to other states. The solution, he says, is a statewide map that will rule out wind energy in certain places.
“The map says it’s okay here, it’s not okay here,” Brown told Southeast Energy News this summer. “To me that’s the only way we’re ever going to be able to resolve this issue.”
There's nothing to resolve, you idiot. There are already multiple mechanisms in place to safeguard the airspace for both military and civilian aircraft, which means this move by Brown is really about something else. And that something else becomes clearer by his effort to draw in Solar and Biomass energy projects into his crusade:
“Only maps. No analysis, no recommendations. I try to be extremely clear with everybody on that,” said Hefren. “They’re going to use them for something – my whole thing is I’m only producing them.”
The “something” is the fear among clean energy advocates, who worry Sen. Brown will seize on the maps next May to promote another blanket wind ban across the state, just as he has in the past.
“No matter who creates the map, he’s going to make of it what he wants,” Kollins of the Southeastern Wind Coalition said of Brown.
And because AECOM is supposed to produce maps that show potential conflicts with “solar systems” and “biomas [sic] power generating plants,” as well as wind turbines, advocates worry they could be used to restrict more than just wind power.
“The breadth of the RFP did catch our eye,” said Chris Carmody, head of the North Carolina Clean Energy Business Alliance, a trade association. “It touched on any sort of other energy that might have had a negative effect.”
This issue needs to be front and center in the 2018 Legislative Elections in North Carolina. For years, Republicans have (successfully) beat up on Democrats over regulation of industry, blaming us for whatever economic downfalls that occur. But here they are, trying to shut down the biggest industrial investments our state has seen in decades. Let the voters chew on that for a few months and see how they like the aftertaste.