Welcome to the Highlands

Welcome to the Highlands, the land of  sparkling Burns, The Heather hughed Glens, High Mountains where the Eagles soar, a land of Deer and Salmon, Kilts and Pipes. The Corbetts, the Grahams and the Monros. A place to revitalise the Spirit and the Soul. This is a land of proud people, people that will give any man the time of day.

But today a certain sadness pervades all. In a desperate drive for fame our politicians have sold Scotland and its wild places to the lowest bidder. The march of the wind factories is heard in the Glens. Tourism for Scotland is dead. Our way of life crushed beneath the greed of mostly foreign adventurers and aided by our Government and Planners.

This is the opportunity for all you to have your say and perhaps we will save something for our children.

The first great requisite of motive power is; that it shall be wholly at our command, to be exerted when, and where, and in what degree we desire.The wind, for instance, as a direct motive power, is wholly inapplicable to a system of machine labour, for during a calm season the whole business of the country would be thrown out of gear.

William Stanley Jevons (1865)

“God never made an ugly landscape. All that sun shines on is beautiful, so long as it is wild.”

— John Muir

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is necessity; that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.”

— John Muir

Posted in Tourism, Uncategorized | 36 Comments

Good to see someone with a sense of humour!

PASSPORTS_AT_THE_READY_A_

Jedburgh Border Post

As the temperature climbs towards boiling point and the Politicians all gather around Glasgow (there are other places in Scotland) it is good to know someone has a sense of humour. In practice, post a YES vote, I suspect that it would be a rUK Border Post as I have grave doubts that the new iScotland could afford them. Someone went to a lot of effort and cost over this? Or could it be a media fabrication? Whichever way, on a dreitch morning such as this, it brought a smile to many.

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Zone of Theoretical Visual Impact

 

 

Visual  impact

 

The Map they don’t show you on Visit Scotland!

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Save the Eagles

wcfn logo

Scotland: more manipulations

 

Whether it’s in America, Australia, or Europe, the media and the public are not being told the truth about actual mortality at wind farms. From employees who make carcasses disappear, to bird societies caught in conflicts of interest, to government agencies obeying their political masters, most stakeholders contribute to the cover up. But whereas in some countries like Spain, Germany or the US, some information has leaked out and the public knows there is a problem with birds, bats and wind farms, in others like Denmark, France or the UK, most people believe the fiction that their wind turbines have been “correctly sited” away from the flight paths of protected species.

 

In the words of Abraham Lincoln “you can’t fool all the people all of the time”. In the case of Scotland, the truth was due to come out in 2013, with the once-every-ten-year golden eagle census. The earlier census had revealed in 2003 that the iconic birds’ breeding population was stable but “in demographic difficulty” – meaning that there was a paucity of young eagles for replacing the adults when these would die. Ten years later, with the added effects of wind turbines making their habitat deadly, a significant drop was expected in their population.

 

But no census was conducted in 2013. Bizarrely, it was decided that, from now on, these counts would take place only once every 12 years. Serious questions need to be asked about why this relaxation of the monitoring has been ‘accepted.’ The public will be kept in the dark for an additional two years. To avoid publication of a census which would show a sharp drop in the golden eagle population, only attracts deserved accusations of ‘cover up’.

 

This manipulation is one of many, where wind farms are concerned. Back in 2009, in an open letter addressed to Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), Professor David Bellamy and I had criticized their handling of the Edinbane project, on the Isle of Skye. We wrote:  “The developer’s first eagle mortality prediction was too high for comfort, so you invited him to do more studies and to review his copy, especially the mortality prediction. You too did some work, and modified a key parameter for the mortality calculations: from 95%, the “avoidance factor” was increased to 98%, which has the effect of reducing mortality predictions exponentially. You also indicated that the predicted mortality should be no bigger than a certain number: this was tantamount to showing the fox how to get into the hen house. (1)

 

There are more examples of dishonourable conduct on the part of stakeholders in the Scottish wind farm saga. They show that, in Scotland, wind farms have not been “carefully sited” with regards to eagles and other important birdlife. All the opposite, in fact: the authorities have bent over backwards to let the promoters have it their way (2). And while eagles were disappearing in Scotland in circumstances pointing to a probable link to wind turbines, the public was not informed of these facts, except those who read this article:

Covering up the death of eagles at Scottish windfarms
A REALITY CHECK PROVES THE SCOTTISH EAGLES DO NOT AVOID WINDFARMS AS CLAIMED

An inconvenient truth gleaned from various sources shows that wind farms have already, directly or indirectly, killed eagles, caused them to “disappear”, or reduced their breeding success in Scotland. It is the best kept secret in this curious land where some eagle deaths make the headlines, while others are either denied or swept under the carpet – depending on who did the killing.

“This paper brings proof that covering up the dark side of wind farms is rampant in Scotland, as indeed it is everywhere: from politicians to NGO´s, and from bird societies to those sadly ill-informed sections of the media, the wind power scam is well protected. Misrepresentation of facts is routinely fed to a public unsure and nervous about future events. Such a well recognised ‘state of fear’ blinds the normally perceptive who would otherwise be less easily fooled.” (3)

The article, written in 2008, proceeds to give documented evidence of the wind farms’ lethal effects on Scottish eagles. (3)

 

Over the years we have witnessed some SNH officials, in many areas, making it easy for developers to obtain planning approval for their projects, even in the most sensitive habitats where many eagles could be struck by the proposed wind turbines (2). Understandably, it has now become important to kick into the long grass a census which could show a sharp drop in the golden eagle population.

 

The truth about the real effects of wind farms on Scotland’s golden eagles was given a chance to become public knowledge in 2013, with the 10-year-scheduled survey. But this truth was forced back into the obscure corners of the blogosphere. The vast majority of Scottish voters will only find out in 2015, if ever, what has been the cost to Scotland of windfarm disinformation, if only in terms of eagles’ lives.

 

Mark Duchamp
Chairman, World Council for Nature
www.wcfn.org
President, Save the Eagles International
www.savetheeaglesinternational.org
save.the.eagles@gmail.com
tel. +34 693 643 736

 

 

References:

 

(1) – Open letter to Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), from Professor David Bellamy and Mark Duchamp, 29 June 2009.
http://savetheeaglesinternational.org/submissions/open-letter-to-scottish-natural-heritage.html

Details of the Edinbane scandal:  http://www.iberica2000.org/Es/Articulo.asp?Id=4242

 

(2) – Allowing wind farms in eagle territories.

- Methods used in Scotland to mock the law:

http://www.iberica2000.org/Es/Articulo.asp?Id=3426

 

- Inverliever, Eishken, Edinbane:  http://www.iberica2000.org/Es/Articulo.asp?Id=2250

Inverliever flight path maps:

Golden Eagle – https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6sY1dWgOsjZTTNselQwYUVObVU/edit?usp=sharing

Osprey – https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6sY1dWgOsjZcHRhM2hXYVVNMnc/edit?usp=sharing

Hen Harrier – https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6sY1dWgOsjZa3VHTGRING1oT3c/edit?usp=sharing

Red-throated diver – https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6sY1dWgOsjZME5fTmJ0YmNyalU/edit?usp=sharing

 

(3) – Covering up the death of eagles at Scottish windfarms.

http://www.iberica2000.org/Es/Articulo.asp?Id=3744

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Planning Democracy? Not as we see it!

 

level-playing-field-2

Photo amended to a Scottish perspective!

Planning Democracy are a group that put forward some interesting ideas, Many of which we will have a great deal of empathy with. This LINK takes you to an excellent article that we think you will find of interest.

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Germany’s Offshore Nightmare

Bard1

The belief that bigger is better is seldom true. No more so at the mammoth Bard 1 offshore wind farm in Germany where connection problems have turned a world beating project into a total nightmare. Much is technical and way above me and cost saving may have more than a little influence. The story is here and has been culled from the German Der Speigel newspaper. Perhaps the Moray wind farm should read the details and wonder whether they have bitten off a little more than they can chew! We talk of erecting test sites and yet all the testing has been done and the experience has been learned already. Do we really think we can re-invent the wheel.

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Stronelairg – The John Muir Trust

Stop StronelairgThe massive Wind Farm at Stronelairg was approved without a public inquiry. Issues around the removal of designation of the area as Wild Land to accommodate the wind farm proposal have raised issues which the John Muir Trust wish to take to Judicial review. This costs money and The John Muir Trust are asking for all our support. The details are available through this link. Please support if you are able!

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Look before you leap – Be afraid, be very afraid

India Power Crisis - Could we be heading there?

India Power Crisis – Could we be heading there?

Pat Swords – Look before you leap – Critique of the Irish Energy Policy

Very uncomfortable reading and since E-on took two nuclear power stations off line due to cracks in one boiler we should be very concerned. Essentially, if you have a generator, service it and make sure you have plenty of fuel because you may well need it. Like Corporal Jones says, “Don’t PANIC”  In reality we have yet to see what happens but it is a bit like Mr. Salmond and the Referendum. It will be alright on the night! Question remains “Will it”

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Aigas Forest – an opportunity for improvement

Wind Farm free zone

Wind Farm free zone

Aigas Community Forest has been an apple in our eyes for some five years but, now in possession of part funding, we are moving forward to acquire the whole forest of 700 acres. This will be gradually felled and the 60s monoculture will be replaced by native species and the forest opened up for Community use. To this end we have won a grant from Bank of Scotland of between £500 and £3000 based on votes raised in a  ballot. The cash will be used for providing safety equipment, tools and training for volunteers who will be helping to clear paths, create new paths and improve the quality of the forest for it’s users. This is where you can help! We need votes as the more we get the higher the grant and the better we can look after the volunteers. Below are ways of voting and remember all the people in the household can vote. This is truly the more the merrier!

online – http://bos-cf.co.uk/VTL Click on VOTE and you will be emailed a link to confirm

by text – text ‘VOTE VTL’ to 82332 

in the Beauly Bank of Scotland branch – just pop in and ask how

This same info is on Facebook – www.facebook.com/aigascommunityforest

 

 

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Turbine Topples

This story I am going to start with two comments as I think they get to the point.

I have been aware of these defects for many months, they have repeatedly been reported to HSE officials MPs etc and what has been done, nothing. I give full praise to Mr Dransfield who is one of many volunteers throughout the Country who chase grossly inefficient and often incompetent officials at local and National level, The officials are paid exorbitant salaries and yet only give lip service. People like Mr Dransfield are often better qualified than those in public service and he does his research out of his own pocket without fear, favour or reward. There is a growing band like Mr Dransfield that are prepared to challenge the secret organisation called Common Purpose as he and many are proud of this country but are let down by everyday bumbling officials.
It is amazing that the HSE report was kept secret and was only revealed after a Freedom of Information request. The whole purpose of these post-accident investigations is so that lessons can be learned and mistakes are not repeated. How can the industry improve if these endemic failings are allowed to continue and improvements in procedures are not made? It is astonishing how the Government continues to try to hide all the failings of the wind industry. Noise from wind turbines is another health issue which the Government is keeping hidden from the public.
Collapsed Turbine

Collapsed Turbine

From the Western Morning News 07.09.14

By Phil Goodwin

Safety concerns have been raised about the wind energy industry after reports showed two West Country turbines collapsed because of faults.

The giant masts crashed down on farmland amid initial rumours of sabotage and claims they had fallen victim to severe weather.

Documents obtained by the WMN on Sunday have revealed that the towers actually toppled over due to defects and mistakes in the construction process.

A 115ft (34 metre) mast at East Ash Farm, Bradworthy, in Devon, tumbled in January 2013, prompting claims of foul play from the local parish council.

Around the same time, a 60ft (18-metre) tower sited at Winsdon Farm, North Petherwin – the family farm of Liberal Democrat Cornwall Councillor Adam Paynter – also came loose from its moorings and fell.

Subsequent investigations by both manufacturers identified further defects and prompted warnings to other sites, including in Somerset, Devon and Cornwall.

Glasgow-based Gaia Wind wrote to owners and overhauled its entire first generation fleet.

Canadian firm Endurance Wind Power said it was also concerned about machines on dozens of locations.

Initial reports suggested high winds may have been responsible for the failures but restricted reports by the Healthy and Safety Executive (HSE), obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FoI), have blamed the way the towers were secured.

Specialist inspector Darren Nash concluded that the first generation model of the turbine sited in Cornwall appeared “susceptible to fatigue failure” and said Gaia Wind had found “ten units with existing defects” out of the company’s 70 or 80 turbines.

“A plan of remedial actions is in place to address these units,” he wrote.

Endurance Wind Power, makers of the E3120 turbine which fell in Devon, identified a further 29 turbines that might have been affected by a problem with the foundations.

Mr Nash said it had fallen because Dulas – the installation company – had used “cosmetic grout” to cement the structure in place and not the “prescribed” substance.

On his visit to the site on May 8, more than three months later, he also noted that the turbine had already been “re-instated using the original anchor bolts and studs.

He added that “no evidence remained to assist investigation”, recommending that Edurance improve its quality assurance procedures.

Dr Philip Bratby, a retired nuclear scientist and spokesman for the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said several wind turbines in Devon were sited much too close to roads and factories and “pose a real threat to the public”.

“It is not the responsibility of the Health and Safety Executive at the planning stage – they can only get involved after an incident occurs,” he added.

“It has been apparent to me for a long time that most developers of wind turbines and wind farms do not do a proper assessment of safety and of the risks to the public from wind turbines and none of them have acceptable quality assurance procedures in place.”

Alan Dransfield, a campaigner based in Exeter, who visited the Devon site days after the incident and later secured the two reports, said he was “disappointed”.

He criticised the response from the HSE, which rather than publish their findings, said the documents were not available in electronic form then only released the papers after a formal FoI request.

“These wind turbines which collapsed were unsafe and unfit for purpose,” he added.

“We should not have to resort to Freedom of Information Act to find this out.

“The root causes were not high winds but poor design, inferior materials and a systemic failure through the chain of command.”

Martin Paterson, spokesman for Gaia-Wind, said: “!the firm and its reselling agents inspected all ‘first generation’ towers, which were designed to the prevailing engineering standard of the time. This standard was superseded in early 2011 and this tube tower design is no longer available for sale or installation,” he added. “Our second generation towers are designed to current industry standards reflecting the development of more demanding design protocols in this field.”

Dulas declined to comment on the findings

It has been apparent to me for a long time that most developers of wind turbines and wind farms do not do a proper assessment of safety and of the risks to the public from wind turbines and none of them have acceptable quality assurance procedures in place.”

Alan Dransfield, a campaigner based in Exeter, who visited the Devon site days after the incident and later secured the two reports, said he was “disappointed”.

He criticised the response from the HSE, which rather than publish their findings, said the documents were not available in electronic form then only released the papers after a formal FoI request.

“These wind turbines which collapsed were unsafe and unfit for purpose,” he added.

“We should not have to resort to Freedom of Information Act to find this out.

“The root causes were not high winds but poor design, inferior materials and a systemic failure through the chain of command.”

Martin Paterson, spokesman for Gaia-Wind, said: “!the firm and its reselling agents inspected all ‘first generation’ towers, which were designed to the prevailing engineering standard of the time. This standard was superseded in early 2011 and this tube tower design is no longer available for sale or installation,” he added. “Our second generation towers are designed to current industry standards reflecting the development of more demanding design protocols in this field.”

Dulas declined to comment on the findings

 

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Noise Compensation – Denmark

value halvedDenmark has a reputation for supporting wind farm neighbours through a compensation scheme that requires the wind farm to fund loss of value in property. However like many things it is not all it’s cracked up to be. A standard compensation will be limited to around Dkr 250,000 (£42,500) but a recent court case over-rode this and lifted the figure to between Dkr600,000 to Dkr800,000(£102,000 to£136,000) If this becomes the norm the impact on the wind farm operators will be considerable. Read the report here The other important variation is that in the past the home owner had to apply for compensation before the turbine is erected. That seems to have been discounted. The official rules from the Danish Government are here. It fails though to define, as is often the case in the UK and especially Scotland, what compensation is due when a house simply becomes unsellable. In the interest of fairness our government should address this and make wind farms buy in unsellable properties. If they can resell them, even at a discount, then they can recoup their costs. If not it simply proves the point that wind farm developers should carry the costs of their follies.

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Truth or Fantasy – Wind Farm style

Wells-next-the-Sea East Coat Fishing Harbour

Wells-next-the-Sea
East Coat Fishing Harbour

The Fantasy

And the wind farm will bring forth an abundance of little fishes and we will all be happy ever after.

The Truth

Just click on the link. Looks like for the Suffolk fishermen the fantasy is in another world.

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Trees for Drax

Now there are times when I wonder about the mental capacity of those involved in renewables or the Climate mantra but to transport wood halfway around the world to supposedly save a soupçon of CO² has always struck me as bizarre. Contrary to what the President of the USA has recently opinioned CO² is not a poison but one of the staples of life itself. Thanks to the website ‘notalotofpeopleknowthat.com’ we have this short piece:

h/t Ric Werme

There have been increasing concerns lately about the environmental impact of biomass power plants which use wood pellets.

Quite apart from the local environmental impact in the forests where the wood is sourced, it has been claimed by US scientists that biomass plants could actually increase CO2 emissions.

The giant facility at Drax is one of the UK power stations which is starting to convert from coal to biomass, encouraged by subsidies paid for by electricity consumers. They have attempted to defend their operation by claiming that they are “using off-cuts of wood that would otherwise be waste”.

One of their suppliers is a US company, Rentech Inc, which has been developing two new plants in Canada to supply the ever growing international market for pellets. On their website, they show this photo of the “First shipment of wood fibre to the Atikokan facility”, one of the two plants.   

 

http://www.rentechinc.com/wood-pellets-international.php

Now, I didn’t do GCE in trees, but they don’t look like off-cuts that would otherwise be waste to me.

Now I am aware that Drax sources it’s timber, 400,000 tons pa, from a company in North Carolina and there is some evidence that most of this Canadian timber goes to Ontario Power but what this identifies is that a whole industry has grown up to provide ‘renewable ‘ timber to biomass power. A tree takes 65 years to grow to harvest size and these trees look from their size considerably older. Renewable resource? Not in our lifetime! As to how much of this timber ends up at Drax or Tilbury we don’t know, but it may well do!

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Thorium – The Nuclear Fuel of the Future? (What is it?)

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Beinn Mhor Update – 1200 comments and silence from RSPB and SNH

Despite Beinn Mhor Wind farm proposal by German Company WPD being close to the Glen Affric NNR and the Glen Affric/Strathconon Golden Eagle Special Protected Area as well as the proximity to the Area 24 Wild Lands, neither RSPB or SNH have made an objection. The fact that the regional manager of RSPB is a close family friend of the landowner obviously has no influence on their lack of comment, despite the presence of many EU Red list birds on the estate. SNH silence is deafening as their report gives ample reason for raising an objection. In fact one really cannot understand why they haven’t. What is of note is that the situation in the area has become toxic with the landowners becoming very aggressive in furthering their aims. An area which, although it had divisions between holiday home owners and residents, was a united community is now riven with strife. The influence of the land owner through, in part, the Soirbheas Community Trust which was set up by the Girvan family as a body they controlled as part of the Corriemonie wind farm, has created even more friction in the greater area. Promises of largesse to school outwith the actual wind farm footprint have been trumpeted as support for the development. All in all a right stramash.

Beinn Mhor P&J

Beinn Mhor P&J1

Beinn Mhor P&J2

Beinn Mhor P&J3

 

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Inappropriate Comments

This is a difficult one for me as, although we have the occasional poke at Politicians, we try to keep away from personal comments regarding disability or sexual orientation. Political satire is as old as the hills but personal comments can damage reputations and hurt others un-necessarily.

There is the occasional exception to my reticence and in this case I will point you to an article in the Sunday Herald which I find frankly repulsive. Someone directed me to this site a couple of weeks back and I was horrified. This is the 21st Century and whilst PC often goes beyond the pale, there are comments that would not even be appropriate down the pub after eight pints and would result in one being thrown out. The report refers to some comments but there were a great number more and some possibly worse. One, possibly in jest(??), inciting violence to people of small stature. I use the word jest advisedly as I find nothing funny in “dwarf bashing”. I actually find the comment sick!

That this was made on a public facebook site by the senior UK manager of a wind farm developer is frankly unbelievable. That he admits it amazing. That his employer has not booted him out with immediate effect brings them into the same level of disgust and disdain I feel about him.

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Stronelairg – John Muir Trust Response

Stop Stronelairg

Take a stand for wild land

Please help the Trust challenge the Scottish Government’s decision to grant consent to a 67-turbine wind farm in the Monadhliath.

Consent for the Stronelairg Wind Farm – the largest ever energy development in Highland Scotland – was granted in June 2014. This was despite overwhelming opposition.

Shortly after consent was given, the Scottish Government pledged to protect Wild Land Areas in new national planning policies. Because the Stronelairg development had been consented, the area around the site did not feature on the Wild Land Areas map – in fact, the Scottish Government asked for the area around Stronelairg to be removed.

The Trust believes the decision to give the go-ahead to Stronelairg is wrong, and is not consistent with the Government’s measures to protect our wildest landscapes. We believe we have to stand firm in protecting wild land from further industrialisation, and so our only course of action is to challenge the decision via a judicial review.

This case has wider implications for the protection of wild land elsewhere.

Thank you to everyone who has supported wild land along the way, and for your previous donations and actions. We have already made great progress.
We will take this challenge as far as we are able, but there are clear financial implications – a judicial review is likely to cost tens of thousands

So again we are asking for your help. We urgently need to raise funds to stop the Stronelairg Wind Farm and prevent the future loss of wild land.

Please help us:

Donate online
Donate on the phone: call 0131 554 0114
Donate by post: write to John Muir Trust, Tower House, Station Road, Pitlochry PH16 5AN.

All donations will be spent on the ‘Stop Stronelairg’ appeal. If we raise more than we need, we will use donations to protect wild land against inappropriate development.

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Constraint payments

It's flying in the wind

It’s flying in the wind

Do you, like most of us that oppose wind farms, get paid nothing for doing a lot or, like Wind Farms, a lot for doing nothing. This web site aims to educate and inform albeit from the opposition to wind viewpoint. To further understand the costs:

Click here

The Renewable Energy Foundation records of Constraint Payments to Wind Farms. And you thought the subsidies were bad enough!

 

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Say it in song!

Regardless of where you stand on Climate Change, you gotta smile with this. And actually it does have a good story. Denier is truly a phrase of intolerance maximalised by the Religion of Anthropomorphic Climate Change to discredit those that challenge the creed. Fact: Climate changes has occurred for ten of thousands of years. It can change quickly. The last Ice Age arrived in six months. The Question should be is it a natural phenomena working on a cyclic scale, affected by natural global events, by extra terrestrial effects(Solar?)  or have we caused it. The truth is, against Nature, man is as an ant on an elephants back.  As to the Religion of AGW, Climate Change or Climate Chaos (whichever is the current spin) we can be assured that many behind the theory will benefit financially from it. 

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Even the wildlife is rebbelling.

Rabbit Power Rules!

Rabbit Power Rules!

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Out of the Mouths of Babes

Fantasy

fantasy

Reality

Sophia, 7, wrote during school.

“You may think wind turbines are good but when you have 50 by your home…you can’t sleep in your own room and you try to sleep but you can’t because of the wind turbines (noise). I had to move into a mobile home because my mom, dad and brother plus me couldn’t sleep.”

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