Fact check: Bryce out to lunch with latest anti-wind broadside

Fact check: Bryce out to lunch with latest anti-wind broadside
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Here's just a start on the inaccuracies in Robert Bryce's latest diatribe about wind energy, this time in the Huffington Post of all places, where his column was misleadingly titled, "If Gov. Jerry Brown Wants to "Crush" Opponents of Wind Energy, He'd Better Pack a Lunch."

Gov. Brown (D-CA) was talking about solar opponents at the time, not wind opponents. And he did not say he would crush them — he was referring to unnamed local opponents on other issues, earlier in his career, in Oakland.

Here is what Brown actually said, as quoted by Greenwire and picked up by The New York Times: 

"When local communities try to block installation of solar like they did in San Luis Obispo, we act to overcome the opposition," Brown said…"In Oakland I learned that some kind of opposition you have to crush," the former Oakland mayor said. "You can talk, but you have to move forward."

In fact, the original story about Brown's remarks does not mention wind anywhere.

Bryce, meanwhile, links to a list of so-called anti-wind groups all over the world — but only about 127 of those on the list are in the U.S., not 170, and some of those are not anti-wind groups, but just local nature groups. In fact, wind is supported by many nature lovers, including the World Wildlife Fund, the National Wildlife Federation, and the National Audubon Society, because it has by far the lowest impacts on wildlife of any energy source.

Even Bryce can't claim that Brown was talking about wind energy; instead, he claims the governor was threatening opponents of "energy sprawl." Yet, wind energy is ahead of schedule to make 20% of America's electricity by 2030 in a footprint the size of Anchorage, Alaska. That's hardly sprawling, when other energy developers lop off mountaintops and cut down forests in pursuit of fossil fuels.

Bryce, of course, is paid to say all these things by the libertarian Manhattan Institute's oil and coal funding from ExxonMobil and the Koch brothers.

But even Bryce would have a hard time responding to the recent poll results in Iowa, the state that knows wind energy the best. Since 1983 Iowa has had a statewide standard for renewable energy, and from January to April 2011, got 19.7 percent of its electricity from wind.

According to a May 2011 survey by Neil Newhouse, the Republican pollster for Mitt Romney among others, 85% of Iowa voters have a favorable view of wind energy companies, with most of those strongly favorable. And by a 3:1 margin, they would choose wind energy over all other forms of energy for Iowa's future power needs. That is a better reflection of public attitudes on wind energy than anything Robert Bryce has to say.

Related articles on disinformation from Robert Bryce:

Fact check: Bryce, Bentek miss on emissions, July 20, 2011
Fact check: Bryce stumbles on land use, sound, steel, benefits, June 8, 2011

Power hungry? Or just on a low-fact diet? (Michael Goggin's review of Robert Bryce's book Power Hungry), July 2, 2010




Peter Kelley leads AWEA's Public Affairs Department; provides strategic communications advice to the industry; and oversees media relations, publications, social media, and advocacy advertising. He previously was principal of RenewComm LLC, a PR firm for clean energy companies and nonprofits, and started his career as a newspaper reporter. He holds a bachelor’s in Government from Harvard University.

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