Wind turbine

ACT Resolution of Support

June 14, 2019

 

Yesterday, the Allies for Cherry Point’s Tomorrow (ACT) Board of Directors adopted the attached resolution.  In summary, the resolution calls on our General Assembly to protect military aviation from encroachment by industrial wind turbine developments.  Specifically:

ACT calls on the General Assembly, and especially Senators Brown, Davis, Perry, Sanderson, E. Smith, and Steinberg and Representatives Bell, Cleveland, Kidwell, Goodwin, McElraft, Murphy, Shepard, and Speciale, all of whom represent the counties impacted by military aviation training, to fully support efforts to stop wind turbine encroachment on military aviation training.

ACT Board of Directors:

Will Lewis, President
David Heath, Vice President
Christine Mele, Treasurer
Sonny Roberts, Secretary
Owen Andrews
April Aycock
Denny Bucher
Bob Cavanaugh
Millie Chalk
(Wm.) Fred Fulcher
Tyler Harris
E.T. Mitchell
Amanda Ohlensehlen
Danny Walsh
David Williams

Please contact Jamie Norment (jwn@wardandsmith.com) or ACT President Will Lewis (WLewis@havelocknc.us) if you have any questions, suggestions, or concerns.

 

ACT Wind Resolution

 

 

 

Military Protection Act Deserves Fair Shake

May 11, 2019

 
Senate Bill 377 will protect NC military bases from wind turbine obstruction. Allies for Cherry Point

Can you define economic development in two words? Cut through the academic mumbo-jumbo … and economic development is “more jobs.”

One strategy is to retain existing jobs and leverage your assets to make more jobs. That’s hard work. Another strategy is to attract and recruit employers who vow to create new jobs. That’s even harder work. Much harder, in fact.

View North Carolina Senate Bill 377 from an economic development perspective. To set the stage: The primary sponsors of this bill include Sen. Harry Brown of Jacksonville in Onslow County and Sen. Norman Sanderson of Arapahoe in Pamlico County. Both are Republicans.

Sen. Brown’s district includes Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Air Station New River. Sen. Sanderson’s district includes Carteret and Craven counties. The major employer for residents in both of these counties is MCAS Cherry Point in Havelock.

S.B. 377 is being referred to as the “Military Base Protection Act.” It seeks to “prohibit construction, operation or expansion of wind energy facilities in areas of the state where impacts of vertical obstruction have been determined to be significantly high, with a high risk for degrading safety and the military’s ability to perform aviation training.”

Sen. Brown correctly notes that the “U.S. Department of Defense is the second largest sector of North Carolina’s economy,” trailing only agriculture. The military accounts for 12% of the state’s Gross Domestic Product.

The North Carolina Department of Commerce has calculated that the military provides 10% of all jobs statewide, with an annual economic impact of $66 billion. North Carolina ranks fourth in the nation in terms of the number of active duty military personnel and reservists. It’s an incredible reality … and one, pray tell, that is vastly under appreciated across much of the Old North State.

The North Carolina Military Affairs Commission (NCMAC) was established in 2013, and its primary goals are to “protect North Carolina’s existing military installations and missions and to expand defense related economic development in North Carolina.”

Achieving the first goal involves supporting all North Carolina’s existing military installations, infrastructure, training ranges and low level routes and ensuring they are protected “from encroachment or other initiatives that could degrade the military mission.” It is critical to “identify potential threats or problems and resolve them before they encroach on installations or adversely affect military training and other missions,” NCMAC contends.

Encroachment will be a major determining factor in the next BRAC, which would reactivate the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission. (BRAC is not a true acronym, but the term is well understood in military circles.) BRAC will take an act of Congress, and military experts expect that day will come. As a result of BRAC, a military facility could lose possible additional assignments, have part of its mission reduced, have some of its responsibilities transferred to another facility … or face outright closure.

Sen. Brown has said that North Carolina’s military installations “are only as valuable as their ability to ensure the readiness of our service members, which is premised on their ability to train.” When that ability to train is diminished by commercial development and “incompatible use of the surrounding environs, our bases lose their value to the armed services they support,” he added.

“Why does it matter whether one of our installations loses value to the Army, Navy, Marines or Air Force?” Sen. Brown asked. “That loss in value will be reflected in BRAC decision-making. All that matters to a BRAC commission is whether the military can continue to do its job at its current location. If an installation reports that its ability to train has been compromised, a BRAC commission will find somewhere else in the country for it to train.”

“The loss of any single installation in North Carolina would be devastating for its host community and county,” Sen. Brown commented. Eastern North Carolina would suffer acutely, and it “would reverberate across the state as a whole.”

There is no economic development project out there that can replace the loss of a military base, Sen. Brown remarked, and the devastation would “be felt for generations in the future.”

The sustainability of military bases within North Carolina is clearly the responsibility of the state legislature, according to Sen. Brown. “We would be utterly negligent if we didn’t approach this with a BRAC mindset,” he asserted.

The “BRAC mindset” that Sen. Brown describes is essentially an attitude that is embraced throughout eastern North Carolina — to do whatever it takes to ensure we continue to hear the “sound of freedom” in our skies … and to spread the word that we would willingly accept “more of it.”

By proactively defending our bases, we also lay down an aggressive offensive strategy, one that is designed to accomplish NCMAC’s second goal.

That is to leverage our military assets to prove that eastern North Carolina is worthy of receiving “mission growth.” This is a place where people are both willing and able to greet, welcome, accommodate, embrace and nurture more warriors and their families. Oorah!

Mike Wagoner is a retired chamber of commerce executive and a public relations counselor. maw04@twc.com     Blog: wagnabbit.blogspot.com

 

Lawmaker fights to stop wind farms

August 25, 2018

 
Wind farm. Allies for Cherry Point's Tomorrow.

From Lauren Ohnesorge of Triangle Business Journal:

NC Senator Harry Brown, representing Jones and Onslow Counties, believes wind turbines can have an adverse effect on the state’s military bases.

Bulldozers through cornfields, cranes erecting 5-story metal cylinders and turbine blades the length of tanker trucks: It’s the fear of Sen. Harry Brown (R-Jones, Onslow) and a handful of others who worked for years to get the wind martorium – which expires December 31 – in place.

Asked to articulate his fears, Brown says they surround BRAC – Base Realignment and Consolidation. The military is streamlining, he says, and looking for “reasons” to consolidate. A turbine impacting a training flight path could give them one, hence his support of a moratorium to study the issue.

But the military, at least publicly, has said the existing process – which requires a green light from the Department of Defense – is enough.

Right now, there’s just one utility-scale wind farm spinning in the state. The 104-turbine project, developed by Avangrid, spins near Elizabeth City, creating power for Amazon.

Drew Ball, director of the Environment North Carolina Research and Policy Center, says North Carolina should be scrambling to get more. Ball says other developers are interested, but are stymied by the moratorium.

But, Brown says, “If you live in North Carolina, it’s agriculture and military – that’s our economy. If you don’t protect those two things, well I don’t know what eastern North Carolina will look like.”

Brown says retired generals and other officers, many of whom he claims have reached out in private, fear turbines would devalue bases. He declines to name names.

“They, for a while, had pretty much a gag order – I hate to say it that way, but it’s the truth – to say anything negative about alternative energy,” he says.

One many who denies that characterization is retired Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn, former assistant secretary for energy, installations and the environment with the US Navy.

“We have an open, transparent, objective process that is tried and true,” he says. “I told this to the senators that I met last month in Raleigh. …It isn’t zero sum. It isn’t military bases or wind farms.”

Retired Lt. Gen. John Castellaw, also denies there’s any kind of gag order.

Castellaw says, “We need alternative energy as an element of our national security. …It’s not just about somebody trying to make money. What it’s about also is contributing to the energy portfolio of America and to the security that the energy portfolio provides.”

 

Navy study says no more wind turbines at Amazon site

July 19, 2018

 
Wind farm. Allies for Cherry Point's Tomorrow.

Expanding Pasquotank County wind facility would interfere with operation of radar protecting U.S. coastline

July 19, 2018: A new study from the U.S. Navy says expanding the Amazon Wind Farm site near Elizabeth City, as the operator planned to do, may cause interference with the Navy’s radar-tracking facility in southern Virginia.

The Navy released the executive summary of its study July 9. It concluded the interference produced by the existing 104 Amazon Wind Farm turbines is allowable based on a 2014 agreement between the Navy and the wind farm operator Avangrid Renewables. But Avangrid’s to plan to add another 46 turbines could cause problems with the Relocatable Over-the-Horizon Radar. >>READ MORE