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Diversity and consensus? That’s a bunch of hot wind

By Tom Fetters

We value diversity. (People of every stripe ought to have a voice, right?) We value consensus. (United we stand!)

But these goals are often tough to achieve in tandem.

Just ask the members of the state’s Wind Siting Council as they struggle to come up with suggestions for the state Public Service Commission by next month on turbine placement for small wind farms. According to an article this week by our Paul Snyder, decision-making on the council is a grueling process, with consensus pretty much a pipe dream.

LISTEN LIVE TO THE WIND SITING COUNCIL’S MEETING AT 1:30 P.M. WEDNESDAY, JUNE 23

Yes, there’s some diversity. The 15-member council has been criticized –- and is the subject of a lawsuit filed against the PSC -– for leaning toward the wind industry, but apparently there are enough anti-wind members on the panel to prevent wind farm developers from crafting the recommendations.

And perhaps because of that diversity, there’s little consensus.

Council members, feeling the heat of next month’s deadline and having to slog through 100 amendments proposed for the draft recommendations, are sounding as though the final version of those suggestions will be based on a majority vote, not consensus. But expecting 15 people with varying views on wind power to walk in lockstep on rules for the industry was unreasonable from the get-go.

Tom Fetters is a copy editor at The Daily Reporter. His entire family agrees the setback of his house from the street is entirely too small.

VISIT THE DAILY REPORTER’S WIND FARM PROJECT PROFILE PAGE

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