Write a letter to your representative supporting wind power


Write a letter to your representative supporting wind power

 
This blog post is being reposted from the Barnard on Wind (wind power) blog with the permission from Mike Barnard, the original author.
 
Politicians are elected to represent us. But how do you help them know what you care about? One quick way is through a letter or email. Below you will find clear guidance and examples to enable you to quickly write a letter or email supporting wind power to your representative.
 
Also consider these other options for making your voice heard whenever you have a few minutes.
Politicians (or their staff) will treat correspondence more seriously if it is:
 

     

  1. Brief  - one page or less.
  2. Polite - Contains polite and formal opening and closing salutations, and thanks the representative for their time and effort. If you are sending an email, make it as formal as a letter.
  3. Focussed – Sticks to a single topic.  If multiple topics are in a single email, it will just be filed under Other and have no impact.
  4. In their sphere of influence – Different levels of government have different accountabilities for wind energy in different regions. In Ontario, Members of Provincial Parliament have more say. In Vermont, municipal politicians often have more say. Make sure you are emailing or mailing someone who has some influence in the decision. Even in emails, add your address.

 
How to use this material:
 
Step 1:  Identify your representative. Make sure you know which level of government has accountability for wind energy deployment and decisions. All politicians have publicly accessible mailing and email addresses. Google will help you find your representative and his or her contact information very rapidly.
 
Step 2: Choose your timing.  Most politicians are busy, and except for their two to four key files, they often have little time to pay attention to specific topics. If wind energy, pro- or con-, isn’t a primary focus of your representative, then make sure to tie your communication and focus to an upcoming vote or debate.
 
Step 3: Pick your subject.  The templates below take different tacks, depending on the focus of debate in your region. Each focusses not on all of the aspects of wind energy, but a subset. Pick the example closest to the upcoming debate’s or vote’s focus. Copy the template into your email or word processor and make it your own. There are examples focussing on:
 

  • Health
  • Economics
  • Environment

 
Step 4:  Add specifics about you.  Include your name and address, making it clear that you are in your representative’s electoral boundaries.
 
Step 5:  Add specifics about the debate or vote. Make it clear that you support wind energy in the issue at hand by being specific about it. You don’t have to get into a lot of details.
 
Step 6:  Hit send and spend a bit of time preparing. You might want to read more in this blog to prepare. If you run into your representative in the mall or at an event, you want to be able to talk about your letter at a bit more depth. If they respond with a request for more information, this blog provides clear, referenced material to all of the major studies to share with your representative or his staff.
 
Step 7: Share this post.  The more people that express their appreciation and support for wind energy, the more that appreciation will be visible.  Get your family, friends, neighbours and acquaintances to send letters in as well. Ten minutes to a better future; it’s not too much to ask.
 
Sample 1: Health-related letter or email

<your name>
 
<your address>
 
Subject: <name the wind farm, bill or debate>
 
Dear <insert name of representative with formal title>:
 
The upcoming <pick one: debate / vote> on <name the wind farm, bill or debate> is of great concern to me. I am writing today to express my strong support for clean, safe wind power, and my desire that you speak and vote on behalf of it in the upcoming weeks.
 
While some of your constituents have expressed concerns about the health impacts of wind power, it is important that your decision be informed by facts, and in regard to health, the facts are clear. 17 reviews of wind power and health world wide by independent, dedicated, experienced professionals have found that wind farms do not harm human health, and that there is no mechanism for them to harm human health. Recent studies out of Australia, the UK and New Zealand make it clear that what is causing people to experience health issues is the raising of health fears by the media and anti-renewables campaigners.
 
Infrasound is often raised as a concern, but the intensity of infrasound from wind turbines is less than waves on a beach or that the human heart produces when it beats. Humans evolved with infrasound, and are not harmed by it.
 
The studies agree that a very small percentage of people near to wind farms find the noise annoying, but that this is much more a factor of the psychology of the person, not the amount of noise from the wind farm.
 
Please do not be swayed by the rhetoric around health impacts of wind power that you have heard and will hear in the upcoming weeks. The evidence is clear that wind power is not a health concern for your constituents.
 
Thank you for your time in reading this letter, and thank you for your ongoing efforts to represent us well. I would be pleased to share the studies behind health and wind energy with you or your staff to ensure that you are as convinced as I am on this key point.
 
Yours,
 
<signature>

Sample 2: Economics-related letter or email

<your name>
 
<your address>
 
Subject: <name the wind farm, bill or debate>
 
Dear <insert name of representative with formal title>:
 
The upcoming <pick one: debate / vote> on <name the wind farm, bill or debate> is of great concern to me. I am writing today to express my strong support for clean, safe wind power, and my desire that you speak and vote on behalf of it in the upcoming weeks.
 
Wind power is an economically sound choice for our region.
 
According to Bloomberg Financial, the International Energy Agency and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, new wind energy is now cheaper than any form of new generation with the exception of shale gas.
 
Wind power does vary with the strength of the wind, but the variance is very predictable, with weather forecasts sufficiently accurate to allow grid managers to do their jobs with minimal challenges. Integrating wind energy with the grid is not an issue until it is supplying over 20% of demand regularly, and we are nowhere near this level.
 
Wind farms will not harm the property values of your constituents. Five major studies covering 46,000 transactions in the USA and UK over the past decade by respected institutions such as the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors are clear on this. In fact, two of the studies show that property values increase faster near to operating wind farms.
 
Wind power has a major advantage over fossil fuel generation; it does not offload uncosted burdens onto other parts of our economy. Fossil fuels create air pollution, water pollution and greenhouse gases that are impacting us through childhood asthma, premature deaths and major weather events. The uncosted burden of coal is estimated at 17.8 cents per KWh, and shale gas is in the range of 5-10 cents per KWh. Shale gas is better than coal, but still locally problematic enough to offset the minor price difference between shale gas and wind energy. Wind energy is cheaper from the larger perspective.
 
Wind power is so locally beneficial that some towns are now eliminating property taxes because tax revenues from the wind farms now allow all amenities to be funded by them and savings to be put aside for rainy days.
 
Thank you for your time in reading this letter, and thank you for your ongoing efforts to represent us well. I would be pleased to share the studies showing the economic advantages of wind energy with you or your staff to ensure that you are as convinced as I am on this key point.
 
Yours,
 
<signature>

Sample 3: Environment-related letter or email

<your name>
 
<your address>
 
Subject: <name the wind farm, bill or debate>
 
Dear <insert name of representative with formal title>:
 
The upcoming <pick one: debate / vote> on <name the wind farm, bill or debate> is of great concern to me. I am writing today to express my strong support for clean, safe wind power, and my desire that you speak and vote on behalf of it in the upcoming weeks.
 
Wind power is one of the best choices available for our environment and wildlife including birds.
 
Wind turbines are often accused of killing large numbers of birds. This simply isn’t true. The major human causes of bird deaths are pollution, climate change and domestic cats, with cars and lighted windows in the top five. Wind energy doesn’t even get onto the list. Wind farms reduce bird deaths through reducing pollution and global warming. One study implies that if it were possible to replace all fossil fuel generation with wind energy, millions of birds would be saved annually world wide.
 
Water safety and quality is a key advantage of wind power. Wind farms use no water during regular operation. They do not pollute ground water or aquifers. They allow precious, multi-use water resources behind dams to build up and be preserved for any number of uses from generation to recreation to irrigation. One state in the west of the USA is even piloting recharging aquifers when they have excess wind energy.
 
Wind farms reduce the risk of forest fires and increase the ease of fighting the ones that occur.  Wind turbines are grounded and act as large lightning rods, drawing electrical strikes to them and safely into the ground.  Access roads act as pre-built fire breaks, and enable firefighters to more easily get to where the fires are. Finally, water bombers already fly safely with transmission lines, cell towers and other obstacles; they will not be endangered or their abilities to fight fires substantially degraded by wind turbines.
 
Wind energy is the better choice for our local environment and our global environment. It has a small footprint across our landscape and the local benefits more than pay for a couple of cents per KWh more cost than shale gas generation.
 
Thank you for your time in reading this letter, and thank you for your ongoing efforts to represent us well. I would be pleased to share the studies showing the environmental advantages of wind energy with you or your staff to ensure that you are as convinced as I am on this key point.
 
Yours,
 
<signature>

Notes:
An email or letter you dash off in five minutes based on this guide likely won’t result in a response from your representative, but you will have let them know that as their constituent, you are pro-wind energy and this issue will sway your vote in upcoming elections. If your representative is active on Twitter, you might achieve similar results by Tweeting him with accurate wind information a few times for similar effort but greater reach.
 
If you would like to truly engage and gain a response, the index to this blog will provide you most of the general ammunition you need to make your points, and this excellent guide will help you write a formal, unique letter.
 

Posted By Sally on July 10, 2013 | 0 Comment

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