As a set up, imagine you are a head of state and have the opportunity to provide a source of clean energy for your nation. "A no brainer," you would say. "I'd absolutely do it."
Now, what if the location for the wind turbines would be on the site of one of modern history's important locations? Specifically, the beaches off France where the D-Day invasion took place?
French president Nicolas Sarkozy continues to press for the idea of building a wind farm on the Normandy beaches, and as the Telegraph reports, he's being roundly criticized.
The towering turbines risk desecrating the view from the Calvados coast, which has remained relatively untouched since thousands of Allied troops launched their assault from the sea on June 6, 1944.
The windmills' flashing lights would ruin poignant night remembrance on Juno and Omaha beaches by giving off a "disco" effect, it was claimed.
Last week, Mr Sarkozy opened the bidding process for a massive €20 billion (£17.5 billion) project to erect 1,200 wind farms off the French Atlantic seaboard by 2020.
With nuclear power the dominant energy source, France currently has no sea-based turbines and is seeking to catch up with countries such as Britain. ...
More than 4,000 people from 50 countries have signed his online petition against the plan.
Jean-Louis Butré, head of the Federation Environnement Durable, an ecology group, said the wind farms would also scupper a five-year old drive to have the D-Day landing beaches recognized as a Unesco world heritage site.In the U.S, the Daily Caller notes that veterans who fought at Normandy are especially angry.
American veterans are weighing in with opposition and dismay. Bob Sales, the only survivor from his landing craft on D-Day, and Omaha beach veteran Bob Slaughter told The Daily Caller that are “sacred ground” and expressed their strong opposition to the building of the turbines.
Hal Baumgarten, who was wounded five times on Omaha beach, added that he considers the beaches a “shrine” to those who died and said that constructing windmills off the coast would be a “desecration.”The 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion comes in 2014 (and at least one U.S. city is discussing how it might transport a ship used during those days to France), so without question there are many people who want to see Normandy left as it is.
What's intriguing to me in the few stories I've seen is that no one appears to be willing to speak in favor of the idea. Mr. Sarkozy couldn't have dreamed up this idea without some involvement and support from the people around him, and I would think that more than just the businesses that are bidding on the project are in favor of it. So, where are those voices?
Their absence, pardon the pun, speaks loudly on whether this potential project can withstand the international effort to stop it. (And you shouldn't read into that last sentence that I think the project ought to move forward.)