“The Interstate Informed Citizens Coalition …. uses false messages about wind and solar energy to engage biases against change, to stoke fear about renewable energy based on these false narratives, and incite otherwise good people into truly awful behavior.”
“The IICC will find local opposition, help them create social media pages, and provide misinformation links: studies done by fringe researchers, anecdotal stories of sleepless citizens, townships burning, counties abandoned, school buses bombarded with “ice-fling,” and two-headed chickens.” (Dan Paris, below)
His letter-to-the-editor “was written not under the direction or guidance of any wind development company, but in service to Dan’s God, his family, his community and humanity. In that particular order.” But one Dan Paris happens to be a longtime industrial wind developer in Gratiot Country, Michigan, and Kevon Martis (see yesterday) is getting in the way of his projects.
And over-the-top goes Mr. Paris in his 875-word letter, reprinted below:
Most of us understand the role of propaganda in the time of World War II. History has well-recorded how Hitler used propaganda as a tool to persuade a country of good people to do unspeakably bad things. He was able to do this by using carefully crafted messages to incite and inflame existing biases among the greater group of citizens against small ethnic groups.
Propaganda blamed these ethnic groups for causing any manner of inconvenience such as economic hardship, and slowly demonized these groups until otherwise good people were willing to threaten, intimidate and eventually kill innocent people.
In the last century, the common media for propaganda was both printed news and radio, eventually joined by television. The recognized father of modern propaganda (now “marketing”) in America is Edward Bernays, nephew of Sigmund Freud, who literally wrote the book on the subject (titled “Propaganda” in 1928).
Propaganda is created by specialists trained in psychology, sociology and anthropology to control human behavior for both political and commercial gain. In cultures ruled by despots like Hitler, it is an easy matter of controlling the messaging. In democratic nations with free-market economies, like America, the use of propaganda is much more subtle but no less effective. We have been persuaded by propaganda to, among other things, consume hydrogenated oils as a health food (which we now know is harmful to us), or go to war to protect American oil interests.
Understanding the role of propaganda in inciting our behavior for commercial and political gain is even more important in the age of social media. For the first time in history, it is possible to immerse ourselves in 24-hour social media sources that are not vetted for accuracy, or even truth, that will feed and inflame our biases. We no longer need to have our biases challenged.
Propaganda is being used with some effect in Montcalm County, as well as across the rest of the world, to slow the loss of the energy market from the coal industry. The coal industry, and increasingly the nuclear industry, are declining as the transition to renewable energy is rapidly accelerating. Since renewables are now effectively half the cost of coal, and one-third the cost of nuclear, the transition is largely market driven. But the growing concern for the environmental tragedy of coal and the inherent danger from nuclear is also a driving force.
The coal and nuclear industries are using lobby groups, or “think-tanks” as they are often called, to manipulate public perception about coal and nuclear energy. One such group that is active in Michigan and across the country is ironically named The Energy & Environment Legal Institute. E&E Legal, like most industry-supported lobby groups, will use “dark money” (money whose source is deliberately hidden) for social media misinformation campaigns.
If you have seen images of a few non-toxic wind turbine blades in a landfill in Wyoming, and have been convinced to be more concerned for that than the millions of tons of toxic coal ash stock-piled around the nation, leaking mercury and other poisons into our lakes, rivers and groundwater, then you have been influenced by E&E Legal and other propaganda sources. While old and worn wind turbine blades are routinely recycled now that they are readily available, such is not the case for coal ash over the last century, which continues to stockpile and leach.
The social media propaganda arm of E&E Legal in Michigan is also ironically named: The Interstate Informed Citizens Coalition. The IICC uses false messages about wind and solar energy to engage biases against change, to stoke fear about renewable energy based on these false narratives, and incite otherwise good people into truly awful behavior. The IICC will find local opposition, help them create social media pages, and provide misinformation links: studies done by fringe researchers, anecdotal stories of sleepless citizens, townships burning, counties abandoned, school buses bombarded with “ice-fling,” and two-headed chickens.
The leader of the IICC will tell his Montcalm County followers that they cannot argue against renewable energy on the merits of their anti-wind arguments. They must form an angry mob, fill and obstruct public meetings, threaten and intimidate public officials and any citizen that supports this clean energy transition.
I have personally witnessed the behavior and outcomes of the IICC over 11 of the 15 years that I have helped develop utility-scale wind energy projects, mostly in Gratiot County. Thankfully, although this group used these same tactics to divide communities and obstruct renewable energy development in seven projects, all seven projects were built once communities recognized that they were being lied to by the coal industry. An eighth project, one that I personally initiated, is scheduled to be constructed in 2022.
I’m convinced that common sense, truth and love for our community will prevail in Montcalm County as well. Frankly, humanity is counting on us.
Is Kevon Martis winning? Is industrial wind bad for ratepayers, taxpayers, and the environment? To ask the question is to answer it.