National Audubon’s newly released position statement on wind energy development is short, sweet, and dangerous. Notable deficiencies in the Statement include:
1) Audubon’s use of italics of the word "population" in an apparent effort by Audubon to a) limit concern over wind plant development's impact to wildlife species and b) discourage concern over the numbers killed. The notion that only "population" level impacts should be of concern is an unacceptable flaw in this document since no one can determine what constitutes a "population" for most species of nocturnal migrant songbirds or bats.
2) Audubon asserts that “habitat impacts” can occur and fails to acknowledge the considerable habitat loss that IS OCCURRING. The document omits the term “fragmentation" when describing impacts of wind energy development and appears to only grudgingly concede there may be impacts.
3) Audubon's call for guidelines is weak, and represents thinking that is several years behind the times. Guidelines that do not require mandatory compliance by the wind industry are meaningless. We question whether Audubon understands that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has had wind/wildlife guidelines available for 5 years and that this voluntary guidance has been largely ignored by the wind industry.
4) Most egregious is Audubon’s failure to recognize the threat of wind energy development on our national forests and state-owned lands. Audubon should be calling for a ban on wind development on public lands as long as suitable privately-owned lands are available. Further, Audubon should be insisting that wind projects on public lands comply with more stringent siting and monitoring requirements than any provided via "guidelines".
(Analysis by D. Daniel Boone)