Printed on: November 21, 2012

Tilting at windmills

You have to hand it to the anti-windmill crowd. They keep coming up with creative ways to demonize those hulking creatures in the Idaho Falls foothills.

First, we heard about headaches, weight gain, depression, anxiety and fatigue for those living near a wind farm.

Next came "shadow flicker," a term Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Iona, managed to slide into a bill, which, shockingly, didn't make it out of committee.

The latest, as detailed in Post Register reporter Alex Stuckey's four-part series on wind power, is the impact on Idaho's bats. Yes, dead bats. They think. And disrupted migration patterns. They suspect.

Idahoans deserve a substantive debate over wind power, and the legislative study committee will hopefully be able to separate fact from fiction. The angst over subsidized wind power, for example, is legitimate, though it would help if the anti-wind crowd expressed the same concerns over subsidies for black-smoke churning coal, fish-killing dams and groundwater-tainting natural gas fracking.

But, at least we've ventured into the territory of real, debatable issues, unlike the nonsense tossed around by Idaho's Don Quixote, Rep. Erik Simpson, R-Idaho Falls: "We, as citizens of Idaho, are sacrificing our beautiful views to heat hot tubs in the state of California," Simpson told Stuckey.

Now that's just silly. Don't believe us? Ask a member of that legislative task force, Sen. Jeff Siddoway, R-Terreton: "You could say that about our potatoes, milk and livestock. We produce it here to export it, and we do that with all commodities. I don't think that wind (energy) should be curtailed because we don't use it here at home."

Ah, progress. We'll take it where we can get it. Now, somebody please, get up to the foothills and clear away those bat carcasses. But be sure to watch out for the shadow flicker. You wouldn't want to become disorientated and drive into a fleeing elk herd.

Corey Taule