Blown out of Proportion
As the developer of Altamont's first utility-scale wind-power plant, I was not planning to dignify the inflammatory hyperbole of "Whirly Birds" (March 29) with a response, despite the importance of the avian mortality issue. But the Sierra Club's letter (April 19) blurs the issue as greatly as the article, so I'll try to generate some perspective.
Fact: In an average year, Altamont Pass produces the wind-energy equivalent of the oil lost by six Exxon Valdez spills, which killed over 200,000 birds. Yet the Sierra Club wishes to prevent further development at Altamont because of a possible several hundred raptors per year.
Fact: Modern civilization kills birds at the rate of over 200 million deaths per year, with plate glass accounting for nearly 100 million deaths per year. The wind industry would have to grow 4,000 percent to account for one percent of the existing problem. Loss of habitat and even feral cats are a far greater problem than windmills.
SF Weekly distorted the scope of the problem. Wind power produces no greenhouse gases, while other power industries likely cause accelerated global warming. One does not need to safely store used windmill tower struts in leakproof casks for 20,000 years.
The Sierra Club has fallen asleep on this issue, as wind power must continue to grow, especially at Altamont, where existing infrastructure needs the efficiencies of the new technologies to operate under today's absurd PG&E prices.
Wake up and smell the diesel fumes. My windmills may not be perfect, but they're orders of magnitudes better than any power source that's come before. Shouldn't there be so much wind elec-tricity around that we can cut into the transportation sector, whose burnt fossil fuels may be choking our grandchildren, or ourselves?
Wind Power Management
An editor changed the meaning of a key sentence in the April 19 review of Anthony's restaurant. In the original copy, the writer stated that Anthony's resembles restaurants in Chicago owned by ex-athletes.