Opinion

Opinion

Letter from N.C. legislative leaders opposing Amazon wind farm

Posted January 20
Updated January 21

The following is the text of a letter from a group of North Carolina legislative leaders to Gen. John Kelly, nominee for Homeland Security Department secretary, seeking closure of the Amazon Wind Farm US East. The letter was signed by: Sen Phil Berger, Senate President Pro Tempore; House Speaker Tim Moore; Sen. Harry Brown, Senate Minority Leader; Sen. Louis Pate, Senate Deputy President Pro Tempore; Sen. Norman Sanderson;  Rep. George Cleveland; Rep. John Bell, N.C. House Majority Leader; Rep. Christopher Millis; Sen. Bill Cook; Rep. Pat McElraft, Deputy House Majority Leader; Robert C. Dickerson, Maj. Gen. USMC (Ret.). A copy of the original letter, including footnotes, is available here.

General John Kelly:

We are extremely pleased that you were recently chosen to be the new leader of the US Department of Homeland Security.

Although you undoubtedly have a lot on your plate, we want to bring to your attention an extraordinarily important time-sensitive Homeland Security matter – and one you already have some familiarity with: Industrial wind energy interference with the North Carolina-Virginia border ROTHR facility.

We don’t have to tell you about the wide breath of critical Homeland Security responsibilities that this ROTHR facility is responsible for, as you had first hand experience with it for some time when you were US Southern Command.

As you are likely aware, MIT’s government-funded 2012 study concluded that any wind project within 28 miles of a ROTHR receiver, would almost certainly seriously degrade the ROTHR’s operational performance. In the situation at hand, over a hundred 500 foot tall turbines are currently being constructed at the Desert Wind Iberdrola/Amazon project in Northeast North Carolina.

Disturbingly, ALL of these turbines are within the 28 mile radius – with some only 14 miles from the ROTHR receiver! (Note also that these are larger turbines than were used in the MIT study – so if anything their separation should be more.)

Yet despite the extraordinary Homeland Security importance of this facility, and MIT’s dire warning, due to the political correctness focus of the current administration, DoD entered into an “Agreement” to allow this intrusion.

When asked why they would put our national security at such a risk, their answer was that a subsequent study concluded that the interference would not be as traumatic as the MIT report determined, and that mitigations were possible that could allow the ROTHR facility to continue to operate, without any consequential loss of information.

Requests for a copy of this second study (to assess the methodology and assumptions that led to this starkly different conclusion), have been denied on the basis that it was confidential. This does not engender confidence.

Your testimony on this topic before the House Armed Services Committee (2/26/14) was commendable in its frankness: you expressed grave concern about the proposed “mitigations” to this national security matter – and (in our view) rightly so.

In our opinion, due to the consequences at stake, this wind project should never has been permitted to be built. If it was allowed, there should have been specific and extremely strict rules and regulations that would have quickly (and automatically) rectified any situation caused by the wind project that would adversely undermine the functioning of this important Homeland Security asset.

We are very distraught that the “Agreement” entered into by DoD and the wind developer (10/23/14), does not have any provision that would automatically shut down the wind project (or require an acceptable remediation) if there is 10% degradation of the ROT”HR signal, or 25%, or 50%, or even 100%!

Under such circumstances, all the wind developer is currently required to do is attend a meeting, to discuss the problem. Nothing more.

This totally unacceptable situation came about due to the current administration’s promotion of unscientific and nonsensical “All of the Above” energy sources (and renewable energy in particular), at essentially any cost. We are very hopeful that you and the new administration will have a considerably different energy perspective (e.g. “all of the Sensible”), and will take corrective action here before this wind project goes into operation (30+ days from now).

The two options we are recommending for Homeland Security to consider are:

1 – Preferred Option: Shut down this project permanently. This would be done due to its imminent, highly likely, unacceptable threat to our national security.

Yes the government should compensate the developer, but only for actual documented costs to date (not for future speculated profits). No tears need to be shed for Iberdrola, which is the antithesis of the Make American Great program. For example, this foreign company holds the national record for amounts of money extracted from the US economy and sent abroad.

In addition to the national security issues and federal welfare involved here experts have concluded that this project will probably cost the NC host community something like $11 million a year – so you have our blessing to cancel this project, which would likely be a net liability to North Carolina.

2 – Secondary Option: Immediately make major changes in the DoD Agreement. Specifically the developer should be required to immediately shut down any and all turbines, when any more than 5% degradation of the ROTHR signal is experienced due to any of this project’s turbines. The problematic turbines will stay shut down (without compensation) until the developer is able to satisfy DOD and DHS that they have a full remediation of the ROTHR signal degradation problem. (Note: Unlike the situation now, DHS should become a co-signer to the Agreement.)

Note: The developer may initially understandably balk at having to renegotiate their sweetheart deal – but you have at least one ace-in-the-hole. Section3-B of the Agreement allows for circumstances where the project may be shut down. The developer needs to be told that without their renegotiating this one-sided, inequitable Agreement, that the provisions in Section 3-B will be engaged.

In our view, time is of the essence here, or we would not have bothered you during this period of major adjustment for you.

Thank you for your exemplary dedication to working for our Country’s best interests, and we look forward to working with you to improve our national security.

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