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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Group that dealt with BP oil spill opposes Charlestown wind energy ban

Louisiana group asks Charlestown not to set alternative energy back
By Marylee Orr

To the Honorable members of the Charlestown Town Council,

My name is Marylee Orr and I have served as the Executive Director of the Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN) for the past 25 years. I am writing to you to express my concern about your impending decision to ban wind-to-electricity generators in your town.

Perhaps you have seen the tourism ads for Louisiana in which we are labeled the “Sportsman’s Paradise”. Louisiana is home to incredible natural beauty and an unbelievable richness of culture.

However, this paradise has been battered and bruised from short sighted, singular focused energy policies. For generations Louisiana has been plundered by the fossil fuel industry.

What once seemed like a windfall of economic opportunities has left us with a countless array of problems. Landfills filled with oil field waste, air unhealthy to breath, water unhealthy to drink, and entire communities destroyed by industrial contamination; not to mention the constant threat of catastrophic accidents.

The effects of the most recent “accident” can be seen in the videos of sick oil spill clean-up workers on our website, This is only one in a long history of catastrophes for our state and its people, due to the exploitation of fossil fuels.

That recent "accident"
The inevitable resolution to these struggles is the development and utilization of alternative sources of energy; sources that make sense because they are cleaner, safer and renewable. Just recently there has been growing interest in clean energy here with an expanding solar market and most significantly the opening of Blade Dynamics, a wind turbine manufacturer in New Orleans.

This gives us hope that we will see a Louisiana that is not sacrificing its environment and the health of its people for the oil that can be extracted from below our feet.

The opportunity to utilize alternative, nonpolluting sources of energy would go a long way in alleviating much of the suffering our state and its residents currently face.

We are respectful of your local community’s concerns and understand if you have reservations about a specific project. These days there is a great deal of misinformation surrounding clean energy and it can be difficult to get a clear picture of the facts.

Please DON'T set back the effort to shift to clean,
renewable alternative energy sources
However, a blanket ban on wind energy would keep Charlestown from allowing its citizens the benefits of clean energy and leave them, as well as my community here in Louisiana, subject to the clearly established sacrifices that come with fossil fuels.

To close the door on the possibilities wind energy has to offer not only keeps Charlestown from being a part of the future of the energy industry, it lessens the hope we have here in Louisiana that we will be able to move past the daily degradation we experience as a result of our own fossil fuel infrastructure.

It is time to encourage innovation and smart growth. The choices we have made in the past have had some significant consequences and now, more than ever, we need to take a hard look at all of our options for building a better, cleaner, and safer future.

Marylee Orr
Executive Director
Louisiana Environmental Action Network
(225) 928-1315
FAX (225) 922-9247