Why are environmentalists not demanding a high level of environmental scrutiny to the proposed development of windmills in the Great Lakes?  Invariably, environmental groups demand detailed environmental analysis of any project, from bottled water plants to golf courses, that could have a potential impact on the environment. Perhaps environmentalists are less concerned about protecting the Great Lakes than they are about pursuing an environmental ideology that considers carbon as the number one global threat to the environment. In any case, the main concern should be in protecting the Great Lakes. Michigan residents should demand the following common-sense safeguards be put in place before any even considering locating windmills in the Great Lakes:

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  • A detailed environmental impact assessment that analyzes potential environmental threats such as oil leakage, ice damage, visual intrusion and destruction of wildlife.
  • A detailed cost assessment of the additional cost to consumers from using wind to develop electricity. Offshore wind electrical generation costs should be compared to developing onshore wind electrical generation. If offshore wind power costs more, it should not be developed.

It is easy to understand why local communities are deeply concerned about wind power development in the Great Lakes, which serve as an economic anchor and a primary factor in the quality of life in those communities. It is also understandable that those communities want to have veto authority over the proposed wind power projects. However, giving veto power to local communities is problematic, as that power can be used to stop virtually any project. Local veto authority is not needed if the state regulators require thorough economic and environmental analysis of wind power projects before even beginning a permit process.  

The Great Lakes are a national treasure and are too important to Michigan to sacrifice to environmental and political ideology. Locating windmills in the Great Lakes is a high-risk venture. It is time for the state to do its job and ensure the Great Lakes are protected.