POWERLINE: The First Battle of America's Energy War by Barry M. & Paul David Wellstone Casper

POWERLINE: The First Battle of America's Energy War

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Basically, this melodramatic scenario traces the resistance of Minnesota farmers to a newly-completed 800-megawatt DC powerline from its first expression in regulatory hearings, to marches in the fields, to sabotage: toppling towers, sniping at the lines. What emerges from a haze of inconsequential detail is utility intransigence in the face of farmer demand for study of the health effects of microwaves (produced by the line) on those dwelling nearby. But the narrative suffers from the piety of the true believer (one of the authors runs for lieutenant-governor on an anti-powerline ticket and ""it was difficult but also a joy""); it is interrupted by rambling interviews with farmers; and it is marred by the recurrence of nearclichÉs (e.g., ""between a political campaign and its ideas and the public. . . stands the media""). These defects do not excise the moral: the good folk will take only so much. A proper moral for the era of such projects as the MX missile. But the Minnesota saga is not a convincing demonstration that power facilities everywhere are about to be besieged. Though the authors suggest as much, they make no real effort to put the tale in a national context. As it stands, it could have made an engaging article; it makes a very long book.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1981
Publisher: Univ. of Massachusetts Press