Impact on Wildlife and Energy Policy
The motion, announced today by Senator Bob Runciman, calls for "a moratorium on the approval of wind energy projects on islands and onshore areas within three kilometres of the shoreline in the Upper St. Lawrence-Eastern Lake Ontario region, from the western tip of Prince Edward County to the eastern edge of Wolfe Island, until the significant threat to congregating, migrating or breeding birds and migrating bats is investigated thoroughly and restrictions imposed to protect internationally recognized important bird areas from such developments."
Wind power is the fastest growing component in the state's green energy portfolio, but wildlife advocates say the marriage has an unintended consequence: dead birds, including protected species of eagles, hawks and owls.
"The cumulative impacts are huge," said Shawn Smallwood, one of the few recognized experts studying the impact of wind farms on migratory birds.
"Given the Administration's commitment to scientific integrity, it's hard to understand why the peer-reviewed work of agency scientists was dismissed in favor of text written by an industry-dominated Federal Advisory Committee," said Kelly Fuller, Wind Campaign Coordinator at ABC. "ABC would like to see the next draft include more of what the agency scientists wrote."
There was elation and dejection on the Cape yesterday over Secretary of the Interior Kenneth Salazar's approval of the Cape Wind project. But there was also some consensus - a rare thing for this controversial proposal - that the road to federal approval was long and hard.
That was especially true among people who have been part of the debate from the beginning.
The projects will help the nation and California meet renewable-energy goals, but they also raise new concerns about ruining scenic views and damaging habitat needed by species such as the desert tortoise, which has been creeping toward extinction.
The Obama administration has selected three large-scale wind developments for a shortened approval process, part of an effort to advance alternative energy and reduce green-house emissions that experts say contribute to global warming.
The energy companies hope to win BLM approval by Dec. 1, 2010.
State environmental officials oppose wind turbines anywhere in the Delaware Bay, a position that could jeopardize an Ocean County firm's plans for a wind park there.
The Department of Environmental Protection cited potential threats to migratory birds, oyster seed beds and other resources in an Aug. 20 letter to Delsea Energy, of Toms River. Scott Brubaker, the DEP's assistant commissioner for land use management, wrote "the Delaware Bay is not an appropriate area for development of wind energy."
Today DNR has 24 active wind power leases in various stages. Five wind farms with 65 turbines operate on state trust land, all in Eastern Washington. The leases yield $670,000 a year.
However, the DNR failed to consider whether allowing wind turbines on state land might conflict with the compact the state made with the federal government in 1997 when it promised to manage its land in a way that would minimize harm to threatened and endangered species.
And Sutherland didn't foresee that some uses might not be compatible with the giant spinning turbine blades that feed renewable energy into the power grid.
A decision to block wind energy development from key sage grouse habitats in Wyoming could effectively nullify a significant portion of the state's wind energy resource. But exactly how much is unclear.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering listing the sage grouse as a threatened and endangered species. Half of the bird's remaining prime habitat in the West lies within Wyoming's borders.
Dozens of wind turbines could sprout within sight of the Massachusetts shoreline under a first-of-its-kind state blueprint with the promise of generating both electricity and controversy.
The draft plan, scheduled to be released today, would allow a series of small wind farms of up to 10 turbines each in coastal waters that stretch 3 miles from shore.
A National Park Service official has warned the Bureau of Land Management that approving dozens of solar power plants in southern Nevada could dramatically impact water supplies across the arid region.
An estimated 63 large-scale solar projects are proposed for BLM lands in the region, and the plants are expected to use a large amount of groundwater to cool and wash solar panels.
Town administration is expected to provide more information to council in coming weeks about the proposed South Side Wind Farm and members of council are joining members of the Advisory Committee on the Environment (ACE) with questions of their own.
Councillor Bob Pillon brought up the issue of potential health impacts ..."We need answers," said Pillon.
The windswept Great Lakes could play host to an industry some believe could help revive Michigan's comatose economy and fulfill state and national mandates for cleaner, renewable energy. ...Nothing's imminent, but state and federal environmental regulators are preparing for the possibility that utility developers may want to harness wind power from Lake Michigan and the other big lakes.
Construction crews should be busy on Fire Island near the western tip of Anchorage this summer, and the state's first major wind farm could be up and running there late next year. ..."We're moving forward with the project," CIRI spokesman Jim Jager said last week.
Significant hurdles still remain, including determining which electric companies will buy the power and approval of all permits, Jager said.
The industrialization of the ocean, coastal overdevelopment, contaminated sites and global warming will be among the top environmental issues in the Garden State next year, observers said.
"What we're seeing is a gold rush toward energy development in the ocean," said Tim Dillingham, executive director of the American Littoral Society, a Sandy Hook-based coastal conservation coalition.
"We gotta take better care of the coast," he said.
The rush to build "green energy" is dividing environmental groups, many of whom believe such projects will irreparably harm ecologically sensitive habitat. ...If millions of acres are razed for solar plants, swaths of wildlife habitat will be eliminated, putting the desert tortoise, the Mojave ground squirrel and the American badger at even greater risk, conservationists say.
Imagine sections of the Great Lakes dotted with rows of gleaming, 12-story turbines, blades whirring in the stiff breeze as they generate electricity for homes and businesses onshore.
It's only an idea - for now. But government regulators are bracing for an expected wave of proposals for offshore power generation in a region that never seems to run short of wind.
Despite its allure as a plentiful source of clean energy, they say, offshore wind power could affect the aquatic environment and commerce.
Imagine sections of the Great Lakes dotted with rows of gleaming, 12-storey turbines, blades whirring in the stiff breeze as they generate electricity for homes and businesses onshore.
It's only an idea -- for now.
But U. S. government regulators are bracing for an expected wave of proposals for offshore power generation ...Despite its allure as a plentiful source of clean energy, they say, offshore wind power could affect the aquatic environment and commerce.
Wind power could be the central plank of a new provincial plan to make B.C. energy self-sufficient by 2016. But critics cited environmental and land-use concerns during a forum at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention today.
Governors from several western U.S. states and Canadian provinces met Sunday to discuss strategies for protecting wildlife that roams their region while also capitalizing on immense energy resources. ...The council´s task will be to identify key wildlife corridors and habitats for wildlife, such as pronghorn antelope, sage grouse and bear.
The council will also study ways to protect animal habitat in the face of ever-increasing demand for domestic energy development _ both in the form of oil and gas drilling and new construction of solar and wind generation plants _ the building of new infrastructure for the region´s growing population and the effects of climate change.
Opponents to expanding wind energy on public land are voicing their opinions, and sometimes in a loud manner.
About 50 of those opponents met Wednesday with OG&E Electric Services and Department of Wildlife Conservation officials to discuss concerns about expanding Centennial Wind Farm north of Fort Supply onto Cooper Wildlife Management Area. It is a scenario OG&E says will not happen.
In light of growing local and statewide opposition and concern by wildlife organizations about the impact to the region's natural habitat, OG&E has declined to pursue the development of any wind energy on public land, officials said.