Library filed under Impact on Wildlife from California
Neighbors of the proposed Strauss Wind Energy Project south of Lompoc have filed legal action challenging the adequacy of the environmental review, calling it "inadequate, insufficient and misleading." George and Cheryl Bedford, represented by Santa Maria attorney Richard Adam Jr., have strongly opposed the wind farm planned for 3,000 acres off San Miguelito Road.
Bedford and his wife, Cheryl, purchased more than 400 acres of land on top of one of the hills surrounding San Miguelito Canyon in the early 1990s. With the land previously untouched, they had to build a private road leading up to their home, which sits at roughly 1,700 feet in elevation, before beginning construction.
Habitat will be lost. Recreational opportunities will be lost. Migratory birds including bald eagles, golden eagles, osprey and also bats will be killed. Important wildlife migratory corridors for deer, bear, mountain lion, neo-tropical birds, and bald eagles will be disrupted. And, our public safety will be threatened. Wind turbines cause fires and Walker Ridge is in high and extreme fire zones. Are we really going to construct a new fire threat in these conditions? Have we forgotten the Pawnee Fire or the Mendocino Ranch Fire that both burned on Walker Ridge?
There has been much confusion and misinformation regarding both the PG&E power outages and Humboldt County’s current ability (or lack thereof) to be an energy island, resilient, and independent from the larger grid in California. The energy we presently get from the grid comes from the east, across the rugged coast ranges all the way from the Central Valley. The proposed Terra-Gen Bear River (Tsakiyuwit)/Monument Ridge wind energy project is just more of the same — a centralized grid-tied energy project that will be dependent on PG&E’s fire-prone transmission lines.
As the controversial Terra-Gen wind energy project reached the Humboldt County Planning Commission table on Thursday for the first of a two-part public hearing, its numerous critics came out in full force, chorusing the project’s potential negative impacts as they filled the commission’s meeting chamber to the brim.
For years developers have tried to figure out how to repurpose Kaiser Steel’s former open-pit iron mine at Eagle Mountain in Riverside County. One idea: Use it as a massive landfill, a proposal that fortunately never came to fruition. The current owners of the site now want to convert it into an immense, $2.5-billion hydroelectric battery, using daytime power to pump water from a lower-elevation pit to a pit 1,400 feet farther up the mountain, then running the water downhill at night through turbines to create energy.
A third problem is the bill’s requirement that the federal government sell wind leases off the California coast within a year of enactment. While wind farms can be a good source of renewable energy, they are just starting to be sited in the ocean — with none yet off the coast of California. Wind farms should not be arbitrarily rushed into existence, as this bill would do.
For wind proponents who insist that wildlife can co-exist around operating wind turbines, this study explains how the behavior of animals resident within a wind project site changed their behavior and avoided the project area. In particular, the researchers identified the loss of habitat due to the access roads and noise/vibrations of the turbines. A portion of the document is provided below. The full paper can be accessed by clicking the document icon on this page. In addition, supplemental data from the study is also attached to this page.
“We endorse renewable energy, but this was the wrong project in the wrong location.”
That Environmental Impact Statement assumed that Bechtel would be able to use existing transmission lines on the site to get power from Soda Mountain to Los Angeles. But those transmission lines belong to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, which announced in June — the same week as the Soda Mountain EIS was released — that it wouldn't be buying power from the project. LADWP said that the project would be too environmentally destructive to justify their becoming a customer. ...And without that transmission, it's unlikely the project will ever obtain a contract with a utility to sell its power.
About 100 people attend a forum in Morro Bay hosted by Trident Winds. Residents questioned officials about impacts to fishing, views, lights and the environment. Trident plans to file the first of three dozen permit applications in January
The first phase identifies national conservation lands and designates areas of critical environmental concern, wildlife allocations, and national scenic and historic trail management corridors to conserve biological, cultural and other values. Furthermore, the DOI says special recreation management areas and extensive recreation management areas are identified to recognize and promote recreational opportunities and public access. Thus, these lands would be closed to renewable energy and benefit from adaptive management in the face of climate change, the agency explains.
Even on paper, it was a wonder: Three expansive circles of shining mirrors supplicating three glowing 500-foot-tall towers, each engineered to turn the sun’s heat into electricity in the otherwise godforsaken Mojave Desert. The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System offered a sparkling vision of our nature-powered future, whose every gigawatt would keep tons of coal’s heat-trapping pollutants out of the atmosphere. BrightSource Inc., a company based in Oakland, California, would design it; construction giant Bechtel would build it on 4,000 acres near the California-Nevada border. It would supply clean electricity to 140,000 homes.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced Friday it had eliminated a quarter of the proposed Soda Mountain Solar project but will allow most of its construction on nearly 2,000 acres near Death Valley National Park and the Mojave National Preserve. ...The project is in an area where such development would be prohibited under the proposed Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan.
The California desert may be a green energy developer's dream, but county officials have serious concerns about a plan to manage renewable energy projects on 22 million acres of the state's sunniest public and private lands.
The Bureau of Land Management on Thursday denied a Spanish company's application to build a controversial renewable energy facility in the Mojave Desert's remote Silurian Valley, deciding the sprawling project “would not be in the public interest.” ...Among the specific concerns the BLM noted were that the facility would disrupt migration corridors critical to bighorn sheep and other wildlife.
While the plan covers all renewable energy development. ...The plan's preferred alternative does not, however, create new zones for wind development in either Riverside or Imperial County, with few areas opened to wind overall. Nancy Rader — executive director of the California Wind Energy Association — said in a statement the industry's "worst fears are being realized."
Wind turbine blades rip through federally protected golden and bald eagles and other raptors, but rather than fine the industry, the Obama administration quietly expanded their permits. Meanwhile, in Alaska, the Interior Department prohibited a remote fishing village from building a gravel road, saying it would affect eelgrass that serves as a way-stop meal for migratory birds.
The investigators want the halt until the full extent of the deaths can be assessed. Estimates per year now range from a low of about a thousand by BrightSource to 28,000 by an expert for the Center for Biological Diversity environmental group.