10 Cities That Bent Over Backward For Big Projects
The 195 turbines stand on towers 400 feet high. Their blades spin at 150 miles an hour. As the documentary points out, however, such turbines can collapse and catch fire, and local fire departments are ill equipped to do anything about them. They throw off chunks of ice in the winter, cause sunlight to flicker during the summer and make a sound akin to airplane noise all year long.
The noise and view seem to be the sticking point for folks who aren't getting paid for land use. It's also driven up tax assessments in the area, which isn't sitting well with taxpayers. The windmills generate tax money for the community, but residents say they're not seeing reduction in taxes as a result. They're also not getting any of the power from the mills, which serve 100,000 houses in the surrounding area but none in Tug Hill.
At best, it's created a bit of a nuisance on the way to energy independence. At worst, it's divided a community. Still, there's a way it could be much worse:
Project: Natural gas extraction through hydraulic fracturing (fracking)
In 2008, Houston-based Cabot Oil & Gas(COG) took an interest in the natural gas within the Marcellus Shale stretching from West Virginia to Western New York. In Dimock, Pa., in particular, it began paying farmers and other landowners from $25 an acre for their land in the early days to nearly $15,000 an acre now.
The plan was to drill for natural gas through hydraulic fracturing, which injects millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals into the earth at high pressure to break up rock formations and release the natural gas inside. In the 1,400-resident town of Dimock, however, that drilling led to the town's water turning brown, residents getting sick, wells catching fire and animals losing their hair.
A Cabot truck spilled 800 gallons of diesel fuel there in 2009. Later that year, 8,000 gallons of fracking fluid leaked from pipes into wetlands and a local stream, killing the fish. In 2010, Cabot was prevented from drilling within a nine-mile radius of the town.
The Department of Environmental Protection fined Cabot $360,000 and started delivering residents water after local well water was deemed tainted. Cabot stopped delivering water in November, forcing the Environmental Protection Agency's hand.