A proposal from the Obama administration to prevent children from doing farm chores has drawn plenty of criticism from rural-district members of Congress. But now it’s attracting barbs from farm kids themselves.
The Department of Labor is poised to put the finishing touches on a rule that would apply child-labor laws to children working on family farms, prohibiting them from performing a list of jobs on their own families’ land.
Under the rules, children under 18 could no longer work “in the storing, marketing and transporting of farm product raw materials.”
“Prohibited places of employment,” a Department press release read, “would include country grain elevators, grain bins, silos, feed lots, stockyards, livestock exchanges and livestock auctions.”
The new regulations, first proposed August 31 by Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, would also revoke the government’s approval of safety training and certification taught by independent groups like 4-H and FFA, replacing them instead with a 90-hour federal government training course.
Rossie Blinson, a 21-year-old college student from Buis Creek, N.C., told The Daily Caller that the federal government’s plan will do far more harm than good.
“The main concern I have is that it would prevent kids from doing 4-H and FFA projects if they’re not at their parents’ house,” said Blinson.
“I started showing sheep when I was four years old. I started with cattle around 8. It’s been very important. I learned a lot of responsibility being a farm kid.”
In Kansas, Cherokee County Farm Bureau president Jeff Clark was out in the field — literally on a tractor — when TheDC reached him. He said if Solis’s regulations are implemented, farming families’ labor losses from their children will only be part of the problem.
“What would be more of a blow,” he said, “is not teaching our kids the values of working on a farm.”
“Losing that work-ethic — it’s so hard to pick this up later in life,” Clark said. “There’s other ways to learn how to farm, but it’s so hard. You can learn so much more working on the farm when you’re 12, 13, 14 years old.”
John Weber, 19, understands this. The Minneapolis native grew up in suburbia and learned the livestock business working summers on his relatives’ farm.
He’s now a college Agriculture major.
“I started working on my grandparent’s and uncle’s farms for a couple of weeks in the summer when I was 12,” Weber told TheDC. “I started spending full summers there when I was 13.”
“The work ethic is a huge part of it. It gave me a lot of direction and opportunity in my life. If they do this it will prevent a lot of interest in agriculture. It’s harder to get a 16 year-old interested in farming than a 12 year old.”
Weber is also a small businessman. In high school, he said, he took out a loan and bought a few steers to raise for income. “Under these regulations,” he explained, “I wouldn’t be allowed to do that.”
- AP NewsBreak: Labor Dept. changes child labor plan (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- AP NewsBreak: Labor Dept. changes child labor plan (sfgate.com)
- Michigansthumb.com:Labor agrees to modifyfarm rules (michigansthumb.com)
- Farmers Fighting Proposed Changes To Child Labor Regulations (fox4kc.com)
- Department of Labor’s Attempt to Kill the Family Farm (nebraskaenergyobserver.wordpress.com)
- Proposed federal rules would limit kids’ work on farms (usatoday.com)
- Obama’s Outrageous DOL Rules Will Restrict Minors From Working On Family Farms, Killing Farm Life As We Know It (Video) (thedaleygator.wordpress.com)
Trump has already heavily criticised the plans and wrote to First Minister Alex Salmond saying that the proposal was “environmentally irresponsible”.
And now his lawyers have contacted Energy Minister Fergus Ewing requesting a hearing into the plans.
A letter, sent by Ann Faulds of legal team Dundas and Wilson, read: “A public inquiry into the proposed development is necessary to explore all material considerations, and to ensure a proper evidential base to inform Scottish ministers’ determination of the application.
“In particular, the potential economic impact of the proposed development on my client’s development, and by extension the regional and Scottish economy, has not been addressed in the environmental statement submitted in respect of the application.”
Trump’s son, Donald Jnr said he feared the public had not fully understood the impact the turbines could have and added: “I don’t think the public realise how close to the shore they are going to be, so I think there needs to be a hearing.”
But the windfarm, one-and-a-half miles from the course, and a £150million joint venture between utility company Vattenfall, engineering firm Technip and Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group, has generated hundreds of letters of support.
By Stephen Wilkie (express)
- Wind Farm Grave Yards (mb50.wordpress.com)
- The Netherlands: Norwind Installer and Ulstein Join Forces on New Offshore Wind Foundation Installation Vessel (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Wind Energy Update: Which Comes first? The Wind Farm or the Turbine? (prweb.com)
Providence-based Deepwater announced its application to the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management last week for a longstanding plan for a 1,000-megawatt wind farm, but no other companies made public their proposals at the time.
The bureau released a list this week of companies interested in generating energy in waters east of Block Island and southwest of Martha’s Vineyard.
No information was provided on their applications or the scope of their projects.
The applicants include Energy Management Inc., the company behind the 130-turbine Cape Wind proposal in Nantucket Sound; Fishermen’s Energy, a company with plans for a wind farm off the New Jersey coast; and Neptune Wind, which announced in August a plan for a 500-megawatt wind farm in the area between Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
Also on the list are enXco, a San Diego, Calif.-based company that says it has developed 3,000 megawatts of wind power and 68 megawatts of solar power in the United States, Mexico and Canada; Iberdrola Renewables, the U.S. division of a Spanish company that describes itself as the second-largest developer of wind power in the United States, with 4,800 megawatts of onshore projects; Mainstream Renewable Power, a company that says it is developing 5,500 megawatts of offshore wind power in England, Scotland and Germany; and US Wind, which has also submitted applications to lease waters in another part of Massachusetts and off New Jersey.
The bureau will review the applications before deciding whether to lease areas for development.
By Alex Kuffner (projo)
- Deepwater Wind Submits Plans for Nation’s First Offshore Wind Farm (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Deepwater Wind is racing to build the first U.S. offshore wind farm (robbiz1978.blogspot.com)
- USA: LI-NYC Wind Farm Collaborative Plans to Build Wind Farm off Rockaways (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Offshore Update: Wind Power Momentum Builds (spectrum.ieee.org)
Deepwater Wind this week officially submitted its plan to develop a utility-scale offshore wind farm off the coasts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, in response to the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE)’s Call for Information and Nominations for offshore wind energy projects in the federal ocean waters off southern New England.
Deepwater Wind’s project – the Deepwater Wind Energy Center (DWEC) – will be the first of the “second generation” of offshore wind farms in the United States. With a capacity of approximately 1,000 megawatts, DWEC will serve as a regional offshore wind energy center serving multiple states on the East Coast.
“The Deepwater Wind Energy Center is poised to be the first regional offshore wind energy center in the United States with a wind farm and a transmission system serving multiple markets,” said William M. Moore, Deepwater Wind CEO.
DWEC will be sited in the deep ocean waters of southern Rhode Island Sound, where it will be barely visible from the shore. Construction is planned to begin in 2014 or 2015, with the first wind turbines in operation by the end of 2016 or 2017.
With as many as 200 wind turbines, DWEC will be the largest offshore wind farm ever planned in the United States. Because of the economies of scale gained by building a large facility and because of the continuing maturity of the offshore wind industry, DWEC’s power price will also be lower than earlier offshore wind projects proposed in the U.S. DWEC will demonstrate that as the offshore wind industry continues to mature, its energy prices will become increasingly competitive with plants that burn fossil fuels – but without the environmental problems that plague fossil fuel plants.
“This ‘second generation’ of offshore wind farms will be larger and farther from shore, and will produce lower priced power, using more advanced technology than any of the offshore projects announced to date,” Moore said.
Deepwater Wind previously filed an unsolicited nomination to BOEMRE to lease the ocean site where it plans to locate DWEC. Since then, Deepwater Wind, after consultations with area fishing groups and other stakeholders, has refined the ocean lease blocks it has nominated in order to accommodate multiple different project designs. At this early stage of project development, Deepwater Wind believes that additional input from key stakeholders, such as commercial fishers, should be considered before final project siting is determined. Deepwater Wind’s lease block nomination creates this flexibility by including enough area for different project configurations.
Deepwater Wind is also developing a regional offshore transmission network, the New England-Long Island Interconnector (NELI), connecting DWEC to southern New England and eastern Long Island. NELI will allow the wind farm to send power to multiple states in the region. Deepwater Wind plans to market power from DWEC to several states, including Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, and Connecticut.
Most of the turbines will be located 20 – 25 miles from shore. No turbine will be located any closer than 13.8 miles from inhabited land, with only a few turbines located at that distance. At these distances, the wind farm will be barely visible from the shore and the project site can take advantage of the stronger winds found in the open ocean.
Deepwater Wind’s proposal sites DWEC in the “Area of Mutual Interest” between the states of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. As a result of a competitive bid process held by the State of Rhode Island in 2008, Deepwater Wind is the state’s preferred developer in this Area of Mutual Interest. The utility-scale project is also outlined in the Joint Development Agreement between Deepwater Wind and Rhode Island.
Deepwater Wind will base its manufacturing and construction operations at Quonset Point, in Rhode Island, where the company has over 100 acres under lease option. Deepwater Wind is also exploring port and other facilities in Massachusetts to compliment its Quonset base.
As a 1,000 MW regional offshore wind energy center, DWEC is a first-of-its-kind project in several ways and serves as a model for future Deepwater Wind projects. First, it is the largest renewable energy project ever proposed for the northeast United States.
“Energy independence for our nation is possible only by taking bold steps to wean ourselves off of our addiction to fossil fuels,” Moore said. “Second generation utility-scale wind farms like DWEC can significantly reduce our need to burn fossil fuels, improve local air quality, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions – problems that are especially acute in the densely-populated Northeast.”
Second, the projected pricing of the power from DWEC is expected to be lower than that proposed for any offshore wind farm ever planned in the United States. The wholesale price of power depends on the final size of the project, the final configuration of the transmission system, and the continued availability of federal tax incentives, however Deepwater Wind expects the pricing on a kilowatt-hour basis to be in the mid-teens (measured in cents). DWEC will demonstrate that offshore wind is becoming increasingly competitive with fossil fuel plants.
Third, at 1,000 MWs, DWEC may entice both domestic and foreign suppliers to seriously consider establishing significant parts of their fabrication, manufacturing, assembly, and support services in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. According to the Memorandum of Understanding between those two states, they will coordinate economic development to maximize job creation in the region. Before DWEC, the United States market was seen as underdeveloped and not large enough to justify a new manufacturing base for suppliers of components such as turbines and blades.
BOEMRE will review Deepwater Wind’s lease request in consultation with taskforces organized at the state level in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
- Offshore Update: Wind Power Momentum Builds (spectrum.ieee.org)
- Cape Wind Cost Claims Misleading (prweb.com)
- UMass Dartmouth Poll Finds Massachusetts Electric Customers Unwilling to Pay More for Cape Wind Project (prweb.com)
- Ghana: Seadrill Inks One-Year Contract for Ultra-Deepwater Newbuild West Leo (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Cape Wind Approved, Fight Continues (indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com)
- Wind farm support vessel refined (mb50.wordpress.com)