Wind power: Why Trump hates turbines
“Like another character named Don, President Donald Trump is tilting at windmills,” said Michael Biesecker in the Associated Press. In recent weeks, the president has repeatedly—like the fictional Don Quixote—mistaken a benign device for turning the wind into energy for something monstrous. At rallies and in speeches, Trump has falsely claimed that wind turbines diminish nearby property values by 75 percent, and nonsensically warned that if they’re used to generate electricity, TVs won’t work during calm weather. “Turn off the television darling, please,” he sarcastically said. “There’s no wind.” Last week, Trump claimed the noise from wind farms “causes cancer.” He also said the turbines slaughter birds—all “while spinning his arm like a turbine and making an unpleasant whirring sound.”
Trump is parroting a “grab bag of debunked claims” promoted by the fossil fuel industry, said Dan Vergano in BuzzFeedNews.com. Studies have found “no conclusive evidence” that wind turbine noise causes any health problems. Wind farms do kill about 500,000 birds a year, but cars and power lines kill 600 million and cats kill more than 2 billion. And, of course, wind energy is integrated into a power grid that has other sources, so there’s no danger of a TV blackout on calm days. So why does Trump hate wind turbines? Trump’s base wishes “we could go back to the 1950s,” said Paul Krugman in The New York Times, so they love it when he mocks “hippie-dippie, unmanly things like wind and solar power.” Besides, the coal-mining and oil industries lavishly donate to the GOP. The sad irony is that coal—unlike wind—fills the atmosphere with pollutants that damage the heart and lungs, and actually does cause cancer.
Trump’s feud with wind farms is also personal, said Philip Bump in The Washington Post. In 2006, he bought land on the coast of Scotland to build a golf course, and became embroiled in a prolonged and ultimately unsuccessful battle against a planned wind farm off the coast that he felt “would spoil the views” for his golfers. For years, Trump embraced and tweeted “any negative information about wind turbines,” with “breathless pseudo-concern about their effects.” In a happy coincidence for him, his grudge against wind power now overlaps with “the policy agenda of the Republican Party.” ■