Library filed under Impact on Wildlife from California

Massive wind project seeks county OK

Several thousand acres of desert scrub land west of Rosamond may eventually be dotted with massive wind turbines if Kern County Supervisors support the project Tuesday afternoon. The PdV Wind Energy Project, proposed by enXco, would use 5,820 acres to generate electricity for Southern California Edison. ...Between 100 to 300 turbines would be placed, and construction would be phased.
25 Jul 2008

New data shows bird kills up in Altamont

Efforts to reduce bird kills in the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area may not be working, new data released this week show. The mortality rate increased 27 percent over two years among raptors targeted in an ongoing monitoring study, according to an executive summary of the data issued by Alameda County's Scientific Review Committee. The five member panel advises the county on progress being made to mitigate bird deaths in the Altamont Pass windmill area. ...The increase in the kills of the four targeted raptors - the golden eagle, red-tailed hawk, American kestrel and burrowing owl - is in comparison with a baseline study that took place between March 1998 and May 2003.
24 Jul 2008

Fight is on to preserve Burney's beautiful skyline

Shasta County's decisions regarding the Hatchet Ridge Wind Turbine Project will have a dramatic and permanent effect on the quality of life here in the Intermountain area. The overriding problem is the proposed location. It's hard to imagine a project site that would have greater visual impact. It is difficult to visualize how enormous these monster turbines would be. Their height of 428 feet is equivalent to a 40-story building. Think of up to 68 Transamerica Pyramids, complete with flashing red lights, sitting on Hatchet Ridge! ...
23 Jul 2008

Bird death study continued: Altamont Pass

Alameda County supervisors approved on Tuesday a new three-month, bird-monitoring contract to study the impacts of the Altamont Pass wind turbines on scores of birds, including golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, burrowing owls and other protected species. Supervisors approved the $450,000 contract with environmental consulting firm Jones & Stokes by a 3-2 vote.
22 Jul 2008

Utility finds foes to renewable energy line plan

It seems like an idea any environmentalist would embrace: Build one of the world's largest solar power operations in the Southern California desert and surround it with plants that run on wind and underground heat. Yet San Diego Gas & Electric Co. and its potential partners face fierce opposition because the plan also calls for a 150-mile, high-voltage transmission line that would cut through pristine parkland to reach the nation's eighth-largest city. The showdown over how to get renewable energy to consumers will likely play out elsewhere around the country as well, as state regulators require electric utilities to rely less on coal and natural gas to fire their plants -- the biggest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S.
15 Jun 2008

Renewable energy projects meet opposition from environmentalists

A rush to build environmentally friendly renewable energy in the windy, sunny Inland region has stirred up some unlikely foes: environmentalists. They say the projects mean new transmission lines and towers across some of the very mountains and desert vistas people have fought to protect. ...It's not just environmentalists who are objecting. A Riverside County supervisor said he opposes plans to erect 400-foot-tall wind turbines for the first time on the 4,000-foot elevation of Mount San Jacinto, near Palm Springs. And a San Bernardino County supervisor has strongly urged Los Angeles to abandon plans to string new transmission lines to carry renewable energy through the Morongo Basin east of Joshua Tree National Park.
2 Jun 2008

Spin or lose?

From the early 1980s through the early ‘90s, California was the national leader in wind energy development and power produced by wind farms. ...Are the turbines benefiting one aspect of the environment at the expense of another? Longtime Snow Creek resident Les Starks calls the wind farms "industrial slums" - claiming the windmills have displaced wildlife and degraded the quality of life for nearby residents. "There was a canyon near Whitewater Canyon that used to have thousands of bats," says Starks, "and now you don't see any." He's also noticed a decline in turkey buzzards migrating through the pass. ...With wind energy having been harnessed in the Desert for nearly three decades, the next few years will determine its future here. Presently, it accounts for just two percent of California's portfolio. That number surely will rise along with new and bigger windmills - love them or hate them.
1 May 2008

Desert's Dilemma

A new kind of gold rush is going on in the Mojave Desert, according to county Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt. The sought-after objects are sunshine and wind. More than 100 wind farms and solar-energy installations are proposed, enough to cover 1,300 square miles. The rush has raised alarms among residents and local officials who fear the stark beauty of the desert could be destroyed. They need only look as far as Palm Springs to see what their future could look like: rugged mountains and sandy desert floor obscured by a forest of 400-foot tall turbine towers visible from a busy interstate. ...Mitzelfelt and Nassif are concerned that the desert is being asked to bear the brunt of reducing the nation's carbon footprint. ...The San Bernardino Valley Audubon Society finds itself torn on the issue. It supports renewable energy, having sued the county for failing to have a plan to reduce global warming. But experience has shown that wind turbines kill bats, owls, hawks and other birds by the thousands, said President Drew Feldmann. "We don't want to destroy the environment to save it," he told the county and BLM in a letter.
1 Apr 2008

Preserving Wildlife Routes: Protecting corridors is key to species' survival, group says

Long before windmills festooned the San Gorgonio Pass, before Interstate 10 barreled through it and before homes and strips malls sprouted, animals rambled freely between the San Bernardino and San Jacinto mountains searching for food, mates and shelter. They still do, although they have to maneuver around some obstacles. The Pass and some of its mountain canyons are among the 15 wildlife linkages between the southern Sierra Nevada and the Mexican border that are considered key to keeping native species thriving and preventing their extinction ...
19 Mar 2008

Nest threatens power line's replacement

As the Santa Clarita Valley continues to grow and expand, there is a concern and movement to sustain growth without exhausting natural resources. Finding ways to balance growth with the environment has come to a crossroads. That crossroads can be found in Saugus, where a proposed renewable energy project may threaten the nesting grounds of federally-protected Red-tailed hawks. ...The new renewable power lines through Saugus would end at the Tehachapi Wind Resource Area in Kern County, which is a wind farm that will allow Edison to keep up with demands for renewable power. Yet Manwaring said she has no problem with Edison's renewable energy plan. She just wants to be sure the hawks are protected until they are done nursing.
29 Feb 2008

VVC windmill could pose threat to birds; Environmentalists labels wind turbines as bird blenders

As the Victor Valley College board of trustees gears up to consider erecting a 314-foot wind turbine, the project may face some unlikely opponents: birds and bats living in the nearby Mojave River bottom. ...A new study on a northern California wind farm at Altamont Pass shows that efforts have failed to protect birds from wind turbine blades which some environmentalists have dubbed "bird blenders," according to Environment & Climate News.
18 Feb 2008

Altamont Pass Settlement Fails to Reduce Bird Kills

A January 2007 settlement agreement intended to reduce the number of bird deaths from wind turbines at Altamont Pass, California is failing, scientists report. As a result, environmental groups are calling for additional restrictions on wind power generation at the nation's largest wind farm. ...Many of the affected bird species are protected by state and federal laws. Some of the birds killed are protected by federal laws so stringent they do not allow the taking or killing of even a single member of the species. Wind farm critics say the failure to enforce federal wildlife protection laws in the Altamont wind farm case is a result of environmentalists' pressure for wind power.
18 Feb 2008

Audubon Society requests study on danger to birds

A green power project proposed for the north state has drawn questions and concerns from nature lovers about how many birds it could kill. In comments on the Hatchet Ridge Wind Project's draft environmental impact report filed last week, the Wintu Audubon Society asks for additional studies on the effect that 44 turbines would have on migrating birds. Of the 16 comments received as of Friday afternoon, a quarter touched on that issue, said Bill Walker, senior planner for Shasta County. The EIR estimated that the turbines proposed for a ridge near Burney would kill a bald eagle every two to three years, as well as about seven birds a year. "It would be a significant impact," Walker said.
27 Jan 2008

Committee suspects little progress in reducing Altamont bird deaths

A scientific review committee monitoring avian death rates in the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area has concerns about progress being made to reduce them -- although a report confirming those concerns likely will not be out until next month. Alameda County's Scientific Review Committee -- a five-member panel that advises the county on progress being made to mitigate bird deaths in the Altamont Pass windmill area -- concluded late last year measures taken by wind companies in the area have not done enough to reach a 50-percent reduction in raptor deaths by November 2009. ..."It's alarming to hear they're not going to make the proposed reduction," said Elizabeth Murdock, executive director of the Golden Gate Audubon Society, a plaintiff in the 2006 lawsuit that led to the settlement. "They're saying they've made a zero to negligible reduction in the mortality rate out there."
25 Jan 2008

Hearing to settle turbine dispute

The safety (for birds) of the Altamont wind turbine farm is at issue during a meeting today. A judge will meet today with environmental groups, wind energy businesses and Alameda County officials to determine what must happen next to protect birds of prey from wind turbines in the Altamont Pass. Californians for Renewable Energy claims that wind power companies have not complied with the conditions of permits that the Alameda County Board of Supervisors approved in September 2005. ...Peter Weiner, an attorney who represents some of the power companies, said the companies' position is that they have complied.
17 Jan 2008

Altamont Pass turbines still killing birds of prey

Environmentally friendly efforts aren't so kind to each other in the rolling hills of the Altamont Pass. For years, whirling rotors on some of the 5,000-plus wind turbines that line the pass have minced and otherwise killed thousands of golden eagles, red-tailed hawks and other birds of prey at a rate alarming to groups on a mission to protect them. ...Now a year into the settlement agreement, there has been little progress in reducing bird deaths to levels called for in the settlement. The Golden Gate Audubon Society, a party to the lawsuit that triggered the settlement, backs scientists' recommendation that hundreds more turbines need to be relocated and the shutdown extended in order to reach the reduction mark.
12 Jan 2008

Some in Burney fear Hatchet Ridge turbine

A subtle line blended into Burney’s backdrop, Hatchet Ridge could become an eye catcher if a line of 44 whirling wind turbines is put into place. To some people, however, the project could be an eyesore. “People are already talking about how ugly it is going to be,” said Sharon Elmore, cultural information officer for the Pit River Tribe. She said she’s opposed to the Hatchet Ridge Wind Project because of the effects it would have on the view from Burney and cultural sites on the ridge, as well as animals that live and pass through the regrowing forest. The power project would be built on timberland leveled in the Fountain Fire in 1992.
27 Dec 2007

Now's the time for close look at wind farm

Hatchet Ridge Wind is both a vital clean-energy project for California and a dramatic alteration of eastern Shasta County's beautiful landscape. It is a feel-good environmental project that will help push California toward its goal of producing electricity with fewer fossil fuels. It is also a massive industrial project that will forever alter one of the prettiest landscapes in the north state. With several dozen towers and turbines reaching up to 418 feet tall, the network would dramatically change the views from the Intermountain area and Highway 299. It would also, according to the recently released environmental studies, take an unavoidable toll on migrating birds including eagles (yep, them again) and sandhill cranes.
22 Dec 2007
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