Initiative reveals environmental, cultural and economic implications of wind energy encroachment on iconic landscapes
SAN ANTONIO, Feb. 7, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — The Devils River Conservancy (DRC), is a community of people committed to treasuring, preserving and protecting the Devils River, the last wild and pristine river in Texas, its springs and the lands within its watershed in Val Verde County. Recently, 140,000 acres of land in the Devils River Basin and in close proximity to Laughlin Air Force Base, were purchased by foreign industrialists with plans for wind farm development. In response, the DRC has launched the “Don’t Blow It“campaign to advocate for thoughtful regulation of wind energy development.
For years, Texas has led the United States in wind-powered generation capacity. While the DRC recognizes the value and importance of renewable energy, it urges Texans to “Don’t Blow It” by placing renewable energy in locations that negatively impact the state’s few remaining unspoiled landscapes, ecologically and culturally significant areas, military operations, border security or the communities that depend on these assets.
“As our population continues to grow, one of the biggest threats our state faces is the continued fragmentation of wild places so we need to be thoughtful in development, particularly when it will adversely impact our greatest natural resources,” said Ralph Duggins, chair of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission. “There is no place in Texas as unique and spectacular as the Devils River and that’s why Parks and Wildlife has two state natural areas on the River that encompass nearly 37,000 acres. If Texas needs more wind energy, there are numerous available locations available where wind turbines and transmission lines would not have the serious and permanent affect they will have if constructed on the Devils River.”
Wind energy infrastructure requires disturbance of a significant amount of land per megawatt generated; more than most other alternative energy sources. Texas leaders supporting the initiative acknowledge the permanent landscape scars and adverse effects wind energy infrastructure has on:
- The limited public parklands in Texas including the Devils River State Natural Area, the first designated International Dark Sky Sanctuary by the International Dark-Sky Association in Texas and sixth in the world to receive the title
- Laughlin Air Force Base
- Border security operations
- The unique natural values of the Devils River Watershed
“Wind farms in Val Verde County pose an attendant threat to military training airspace, border security operations and public parklands,” said Skip Baker, president of the Military Affairs Association. “Responsible consideration of location must be considered in renewable energy development. Wind turbines create airspace hazards and compromise air traffic safety for Laughlin Air Force pilots at the largest training program in the U.S. by interfering with radio signals, potentially reducing their number of effective training days.”
To learn more about Don’t Blow It and ways to support protection of the wild side of Texas, please visit, dontblowittexas.org.
ABOUT DEVILS RIVER CONSERVANCY
The Devils River Conservancy, a 501 (c)3 organization committed to treasuring, preserving and protecting the Devils River, its springs and the lands within its water catchment area. The Devils River is a place many consider to be the last pristine river in Texas. Through education, research and advocacy, the DRC is on a mission to ensure the river’s clean, clear waters and springs will continue to flow according to their historical and natural regimes for future generations. To learn more about the Devils River Conservancy, visit devilsriverconservancy.org. To find out how you can help protect Val Verde County’s unique natural and scenic treasures from wind farm encroachment, visit dontblowittexas.org.