nimbyism

Shortly after buying Trinchera Blanca ranch Bacon realized he had a serious problem and that in order to fix it he would have to do the previously unfathomable: become a public figure. His paradise was under siege, threatened by an invasive, man-made species–a proposed energy transmission line, which was to be held aloft by a series of 150-foot-tall metal towers. Seventeen miles of that line was to cut through the heart of the Blanca portion of the ranch and right in front of the trio of 14,000-foot peaks, the signature “viewshed” of the San Luis Valley. The project, a joint venture between Xcel Energy and Tri-State Generation & Transmission, was being sold to the public as a needed “green” line that would carry solar energy and was backed by a prominent environmental group in Boulder. It looked like a huge loss for Bacon…[A team he assembled] discovered that the energy companies had cheaper alternatives for existing lines, that Xcel had already met its renewable energy mandate with the state and that the line, which hadn’t even gone through an environmental impact study, would in fact most likely not even carry any “green” energy at all. “The more we looked into it, the more we felt like Erin Brockovich,” says Bacon, referring to the environmental sleuth immortalized by Julia Roberts in a 2000 movie…Feeling the heat, the energy companies fought back, painting Bacon as a Nimby (not in my backyard), a rich Easterner who wanted to dictate the energy needs of Colorado. (“Poor little rich boy,” the Pueblo Chieftain called him in an editorial.)…“What’s wrong with Nimbyism?” Bacon asks. “The entire environmental movement was built on it. Some of the greatest environmentalists were Nimbys. Thoreau protected Walden, right?” [Forbes, earlier]