Helton: Trump attacks Iowa with his lies about renewable energy

The president’s disinformation about wind power degrades Iowa’s progress in fighting climate change.


Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS

President Donald Trump makes a statement announcing that a deal has been reached to reopen the government through Feb. 15 during an event in the Rose Garden of the White House Jan. 25, 2019 in Washington, D.C.

Elijah Helton, Opinions Columnist

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump’s quotes gave his opponents lots of material to work with. “How stupid are the people of Iowa?” was one of the favorite recitations.

This was in reference to fellow GOP-primary contender Ben Carson’s childhood story of how he used to get into fights and had a bad temper. “How stupid are the people of the country to believe this crap?” Trump mused out loud.

The man who would become president called for Iowans to refute his rival’s story, and now it’s time for Iowans to refute the president’s own “crap”: his lies about how Iowans get their electricity.

“They say the noise causes cancer,” Trump said at a Republican National Congressional Committee fundraiser earlier this month. The noise in question comes from wind turbines. The cancer in question is nonexistent.

The president lied. There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that sound from wind turbines causes cancer. The White House couldn’t provide any proof either; Trump just made it up.

Nick Rohlman
The Pioneer Grove Wind Farm is seein in Mechanicsville, IA on Wednesday, July 11, 2018.

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Of course, the current president is no stranger to bizarre claims that have no foundation in reality. Those of us who think and read a lot about politics have mostly accepted that exaggeration, hyperbole, and straight-up untruths are just a part of Trump’s communication style. If he thinks it, he says it.

But I’m taking issue with this line in particular because it’s an affront to Iowans. Our Hawkeye State is a national leader in renewable energy. Nearly 40 percent of our energy comes from wind power. We have an extremely long way to go — 40 percent isn’t nearly going to cut it — but we’ve worked harder than most to make our consumption cleaner.

The president lied. There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that sound from wind turbines causes cancer. The White House couldn’t provide any proof either; Trump just made it up.”

The president is stomping on our progress with nonsense claims because he thinks anything done in the name of the environment is foolish and laughable. This is the guy who claimed “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese,” and more pointedly, “bullsh*t.”

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As a candidate, Trump promised to get rid of the Department of Environmental — a nonexistent government agency with bad grammar. He regularly mocks those of us who voice our legimate concerns about the environment.

He’s clearly against any efforts to mitigate climate change. Trump doesn’t even believe his own administration’s report that said climate change “is presenting growing challenges to human health and safety, quality of life, and the rate of economic growth.”

As someone who has a stake in the planet being sustained for the rest of the century, this sort of careless spreading of disinformation is offensive. But don’t just take my lefty word for it — our state’s Republicans feel the same way.

“It’s ridiculous. Wind energy is just a tremendous asset for the state of Iowa. We are very fortunate to have so much of our electric drawn from a clean power source,” Sen. Joni Ernst said. “I don’t know what the president is drawing from.”

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Gov. Kim Reynolds is still pushing forward with her efforts to expand wind energy in the state, despite the president’s disparaging remarks.

Iowa isn’t just going to sit by and let the federal government get by with its dismissive approach to the global-warming crisis. We’re going to keep pushing for cleaner energy and healthier Earth no matter how blantantly bizarre the president gets.

So, how stupid are the people of Iowa? Not stupid enough to follow Trump’s plan to destroy the planet.

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