Blowing away bird populations

On July 10, George Wallace of the American Bird Conservancy provided testimony before the House Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Oceans where he stated “The wind industry is prepared to increase the number of turbines 30 fold over the next 20 years ... at the current estimated mortality rate, the wind industry will be killing 900,000 to 1.8 million birds per year. While this number is a relatively small percentage of the total number of birds estimated to live in North America, many of the bird species being killed are already declining for other reasons, and losses of more than a million birds per year would exacerbate these declines.”

Two recent news articles corroborate Dr. Wallace’s concerns. The first details the risks of wind development on the endangered Whooping Crane, of which only 525 birds exist on the planet.

Yet, according to Laurie Jodziewicz, AWEA's manager of siting policy, the wind industry will "continue to grow in the crane's migration corridor and should not be subject to regulations that don't apply to other industries."

The second article states, in general, avian populations are more at risk today than ever. “So drastically have overall migratory bird populations fallen that one scientist who compared weather satellite images over time, found that migrating bird flocks were 50 percent smaller than they were several years ago.”

The wind industry perpetuates claims that their experts have resolved how best to site the turbines where they will do the least damage. Talk is cheap, and this claim is unsubstantiated. The fact remains that avian and bat species populations are at risk from wind blades, towers and transmission infrastructure. The industry advocates the dangerous strategy of addressing mortality problems after the wind projects are operational, but what then?

Windaction.org calls on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency, the Canadian Wildlife Service, and the respective State and Provincial agencies to stop acceding to wind developers and vigorously protect the resources under their watch.

JUL 15 2008
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