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Federal MP blasts anti-windfarm groups

John Murphy, federal ALP MP for the seat of Reid (inner-western Sydney)  made some extensive comments regarding the Landscape Guardians and other anti-windfarm groups in Federal Parliament on Wednesday 15 February. Independent Australia has republished his comments in full, here is a sample:

what's the real climate conspiracy?
Click to enlarge: Climate "skepticism" explained? (from Occupy Wall St via facebook)

“The Landscape Guardians are well-known climate sceptics and deniers linked to the Liberal Party and the Institute of Public Affairs. They have a particularly close association with the IPA’s Australian Environment Foundation, which is more interested in logging trees than conserving them. The Institute of Public Affairs has been giving its opinion on climate change for decades now on behalf of its supporters—Billiton; Western Mining; Caltex; Esso Australia, a subsidiary of Exxon; Shell; and Woodside Petroleum—and it also receives funding from Rupert Murdoch’s News Ltd.

“While the Waubra Foundation appears unconcerned about the landscape of wind farms, its only agenda is the so-called ‘infrasound problems’ caused by wind turbines. Peter Mitchell successfully objected to the number of turbines proposed for the Stockyard Hill wind farm near Beaufort in Victoria. He also successfully had them removed from the ridge that he could see from his property. Sandi Keane found also that Peter Mitchell has interests in the fossil fuel industry. These include as founding chairman of the Moonie Oil Company Ltd and chairman or director of similar companies including Clyde Petroleum plc, Avalon Energy Inc., North Flinders Mines Ltd and Paringa Mining & Exploration plc, most now delisted on the Australian Stock Exchange.

“According to Lowell Resources Funds Management Pty Ltd, Mitchell’s experience is derived from over 25 years involvement in companies that explored for, developed and financed gold, uranium, coal and base metal mines, oil and gas fields and pipeline systems in Australia and overseas. He has been chairman of Lowell Pty Ltd, the ultimate parent company of both Lowell Capital Ltd and Lowell Resources Funds Management Pty Ltd, a specialist fund investing in emerging mining and energy companies, since taken over by Future Corporation Australia Ltd.

“Paul Miskelly, who represents both the Australian Landscape Guardians and the Taralga Landscape Guardians, worked for the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, ANSTO, for 32 years and gives talks on nuclear power. Climate scepticism is the stock in trade of the Landscape Guardians. Randall Bell, president of the Victorian Landscape Guardians, said in the Melbourne Age on 3 July 2010 that claims the earth is warming are scientifically unreliable and that the idea of man-made climate change is headed for the Y2K dustbin. But we do not see the Landscape Guardians campaigning alongside Lock the Gate, the New South Wales Farmers Federation and the Greens to halt the destruction of some of the best agricultural land in New South Wales and Queensland by coal seam gas miners. We do not see them campaigning in Victoria against Premier Ted Baillieu’s decision to reopen Victoria to brown coal mining. Farmers on the best agricultural land in Gippsland now face losing their farms to dirty, inefficient brown coal mining. Is an open-cut mine a preferable landscape to a wind farm, where food can continue to be grown?

“As with the Landscape Guardians, there is no information about funding or sponsorship of the Waubra Foundation. Yet money seems to be no object for its websites, campaigners, advertising, travel and media monitoring.

“As I said earlier, in the Boorowa area a $300 million wind farm is being proposed. At Rye Park the Epuron energy company wants to build 80 to 110 turbines, which will generate power for 90,000 homes. But, as Sandi Keane found, there is someone with a property near Yass whose influence on governments and public opinion is huge. Besieged media boss Rupert Murdoch owns Cavan, a substantial rural property in the grazing country nearby. No other media group in Australia has run a more distorted and dishonest scare campaign about wind farms than the Murdoch group. The district of Yass has in the planning stages a larger proportion of wind farms than elsewhere in Australia. These are planned at Bango, 25 km north of Yass; Birrema, 30 km west of Yass; Rye Park, 25 km north-east of Yass; and the Yass Valley itself. There are wind farms at Caroll’s Ridge, Conroy’s Gap, Coppabella Hills and Marilba Hills.”

Read the full speech at Indendent Australia.

18 thoughts on “Federal MP blasts anti-windfarm groups

  1. Placing wind turbines in inappropriate places (Within 2km of any home) remains indefensible. It is all about planning!

    1. Nominating arbitrary distances is indefensible when justifications conflict with physics. You should acquaint yourself with the inverse square law. There are plenty of people living within 2 km of wind farms who have no problems with them at all.

      Given the millions of people living under aircraft flight paths and along highways who seem not to require special government regulations, the proximity to turbines argument is spurious. Little more than a sop to the anti-renewable energy brigade.

      1. Blair as a scientist I understand the inverse square law I also understand that not all people may be affected by noise but some are. I liken it to sea sickness a very real condition but for non sufferers it seems like a nonsense. A 2km buffer moves turbines away from homes and surely something that is 50 storeys tall and can cast a rotaing shadow over 3 km long this should be a minimum requirement. (yes I support buffer distances for other industrial facilities) In many areas like Macedon Ranges before wind farms came onto the scene you were not allowed to build a sched on a ridge line, then the rules changed and it was ok to build a 150m tall structure. This is not what neighbours expected. So a 2km buffer should be a minimum as an act of fairness and it may also reduce the other problems of noise, shadow flicker, overshadowing blade glint etc. Asutralia is a big countryand if jurisdictions in the world can cope with such a buffer surely we can. See Perth and Kinross Scotland, Riverside County California (3km) Manitoba and the recommendation of the Retexxo Grupp Germany a wind farm developer that recommend 2km buffer from a residence.

      2. If you are truly a scientist, you should be ashamed of your intentional misrepresentations of fact. Shadows from turbines are only long at early morning and late evening. A couple of hours at most each day, assuming the sun is shining. Blade glint is also largely nonsense because of the special nonreflective coating used on turbine blades.

        When visiting the local windfarm I often notice the sheep, horses and cattle grazing quite contentedly around the turbines, occasionally with the blade shadow passing over them. If we were to believe wind farm opponents, the land would be unproductive, the cattle distressed and the turbines non-functional in any case.

        You need to explain why the Germans and Danes with far higher population densities live quite happily with turbines in their midst. I’d love to know why you are pandering to a noisy minority who are known to be climate change denialists, fossil fuel and nuclear proponents? Is there something you’re not telling us?

    2. I live 9 km from the Toora windfarm and tried my damnedest to get another windfarm built which would have been only 3 km from my home.

      If we believe the shills posing as experts on the matter of turbine syndrome, living within 10 km should be enough to cause ill-health. Of course Sarah Laurie and co-are unqualified in the field of audiology but it doesn’t stop them making ridiculous statements.

      I’d be more than happy with a turbine or several within 500 m or even less of my house. I wonder if you’ve ever spent a bit of time seeing them operating in all sorts of weather and wind conditions? I have. I defy anybody to hear the wind turbine operating on a windy day if they are standing more than about 300 m away. It’s true that you can hear them on quiet nights up to a couple of kilometres away when the breeze is slight. I know plenty of people in Toora (almost 2 km away) who can hear some of the turbines when the breeze is blowing from the Northwest, who have no problems with them.

      FYI, the town used to host a large butter factory which could be heard from as far away as 4 km day or night courtesy of assorted alarms, steam valves, briquette hoppers and milk powder dryers but curiously nobody claimed ill-health due to the factory.

      It’s true that 2 km is not much of a distance considering the size of a country like Australia but of course when you include the ridiculous legislation introduced by the Victorian Liberal government, 2 km might as well be infinity because both proximity or any whingeing individual can be enough to kill a project out right.

      Yes we could build turbines out in the Simpson Desert but we know you or other apologists would claim that the vast distances would render the transmission lines useless as too much electricity would be lost, an undeniable fact.

      1. I think we should stick to the facts Blair rather than getting emotional and all riled up and defensive. You live 9ks from Toora and you say you tried to get a windfarm 3ks from your home so the 2km rule sounds appropriate to me. You say that you wouldn’t mind a turbine within 500m of your home kinda meaningless when you know that it is not going to happen. You also say “2 km might as well be infinity because both proximity or any whingeing individual can be enough to kill a project out right.” As far as I am aware if you arte 2010m from a turbine no amount of whingeing under the current rules can stop a turbine from being erected as a matter of fact by negotiation with the land holder they can be closer than 2kms so there are plenty of options even here in Victoria but it will take some work and effort which developers are loathe to do because it costs them money. Therefore your Simpson Desert option should be ignored as ridiculous nonsense.

  2. There was no intentional misrepresentation just a statement of facts. While humans are animals I would say that we are a slightly higher order than a cow or sheep (some of us anyway) Given a choice most people would rather not live under the shadow of wind turbine and the strobe effect of the spinning blade can have a impact on some people (on animals I am not sure) You claim as nonsense many of the issues people have with turbines however I ask the question how far from a turbine do you live Blair? I notice you say you visit wind farms you do not say you live with one in your backyard. Until you do, do not judge others. 2km is not such a large distance in vast country like Australia!

    1. “the strobe effect of the spinning blade can have a impact on some people”
      Reference please?

      It’s not like a strobe light at a disco triggering epileptic fits. It’s just a flickering shadow. I’d be very interested to know what medical study has found an impact from this flickering. Or do you simply mean “an impact” in a non-medical sense, like “disliking” it? Which can also apply to hearing or seeing wind turbines, or apparently even simply being aware of their existence for some anti-wind warriors.

    2. Peter, yes, let’s all of us stick to the facts, are you up to it?

      Had you ever lived on a farm, you would know that horses in particular but also young calves can be easily affected by noise or anything that can startle them.

      The point you seemed to miss regarding the horses, cattle and sheep grazing happily around the turbines even when the shadows are passing over them was that the presence of the turbines left them unscathed. It’s odd that flighty animals coexist with turbines yet some supposedly intelligent humans resort to fantastic stories and psychosomatic illnesses because of the same turbines.

      You have yet to provide a single piece of credible evidence that directly links wind turbines to ill health. Rather odd considering you’re supposed to be a scientist.

  3. Peter, you say 2km is not such a large distance in a vast country like Australia. However, a look at the maps at this page
    shows that nearly the entire state of Victoria is ruled out. It is surprising that even in what appears to be very remote regions, there is still a residence within 2km of most areas.

    Generally speaking, a government that decides to impose a 2km or greater buffer is in realiity saying it doesn’t want any wind turbines.

    The wind industry is not against sensible and scientifically rationalised buffers, however it does want legislation that does not unfairly discriminate in comparison to what applies to other industries and generators.

  4. This conversation will have to move to the Soapbox
    as it’s straying into general discussion about wind energy politics.

    On a final note, can I just ask people to think about some basic maths.

    The area of a circle with radius 1km is 3.14 square kilometres.
    The area of a circle with radius 2km is 12.56 square kilometres.

    Yet noise decreases at an even greater rate, compared to distance.

  5. Surely the greater question is; do wind turbines reduce green house gases? The answer is no, or at best an equal balance is achieved in relation to the emissions from their manufacture, transport, construction, maintenance and demolition. Also, why are we using public money for private electricity generators? To do so is an irresponsible use of a tax and a complete waste of hot air.

  6. Sean
    I’ve been working in the power industry for 43 years. Most of that time i have workd as a power grid controller. i have been on shift in the middle of the very worst situations.
    Wind generators reduce green house gas emmissions at twice the rate of equivalent cost hydro in Australia’s snowy scheme. Wind Generators deliver energy at one tenth the cost of petrol one 5th the cost of gas and one third the cost of coal.
    Where on earth do you get these energy figures to arrive at that so called balance?
    In its life time, a 3MW wind turbine will produce enough energy to run Blue Steel processing plant at its peak for a month.

    Gas generators around the grid, sit idle for 99.5% of the time. They cost twice as much as the equivalent wind generation plant and deliver less then 5% the energy for the investment.

    The planned building of Gas plant has been cancelled and so it should.

    Wind farms across Australia are more predictable then Gas or coal plant. They produce twice as much energy per unit cost of Snowy Hydro plant and the wind does not run out as the water did in 2005.

  7. In New York City at the beginning of las century if you drove a car, the law was that you had to have someone walk in front ot he vehicle at less then 1 mile per hour and wave a white flag.
    I would argue that those people had a solid argument. it is hard to find a device more dangerous then a car.

    But the anti wind people are going to look a lot sillier then the New York car walkers in the next 20 years.

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