Library filed under Impact on Landscape from Florida
The main objection facing Sugarland Wind is the bird deaths expected from putting towering, fast-spinning blades between Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades, two prime destinations for migrating birds, wading birds and birds of prey. Sugarland backers have said they expect about three to four bird deaths per tower per year.
Splattered birds make going green a tough sell. The risk of birds flying into fast-spinning blades atop wind-catching turbines the size of the Statue of Liberty threatens to torpedo a proposed "wind farm" that could produce non-polluting energy on the edge of the Everglades.
That location would place the turbines near the northernmost remnants of the Everglades, as well as the South's largest lake and a series of man-made cleanup marshes that have become magnets for egrets, herons and ducks. The region is also the epicenter of a $15 billion Everglades restoration effort.
As Florida Power & Light Co. gets closer to a public hearing on its wind turbine plan, skeptics of the project have plenty of questions left unanswered. What about the effect on birds? Or sea turtles? And why put turbines in St. Lucie County in the first place? Nick Blount, external affairs manager for FPL on the Treasure Coast, tried to answer some of those questions from about 20 members of the Conservation Alliance of St. Lucie County on Wednesday night and promised to try to find answers to others raised by residents. ... Indian Riverkeeper Kevin Stinnette said he has several issues he still thinks should be addressed, preferably by conducting a full environmental impact statement. Blount said the company would do what is required, but he didn't commit to a full environmental impact study. In addition to sensitive wetlands being in the area, Stinnette said he has concerns about the potential effects on sea turtles, fish and birds.
Do you really want to take the chance of ruining the lagoon and destroying our sport-fishing resource for something that we do not have enough wind for? The evidence points to the fact that wind turbines might be a disaster to our environment and proper independent studies have not been conducted by either the county or FPL. County commissioners have a choice to represent either their constituents or FPL. I urge them to stop the procrastination, and unless proper, independent, ecological studies are initiated, please save the county a lot of time and money and ban the turbines immediately.
Let's confront an inconvenient truth. Wind turbines on Hutchinson Island will not work. What makes this statement more shocking is that Florida Power & Light is well aware of this. Then what could motivate them to proceed with a major project that will destroy the natural habitat, kill a multitude of birds, disrupt the environment, do damage to the infrastructure, and go against the wishes of the residents of Hutchinson Island? The answer is quite simple. Money. ...I personally cannot think of this practice being anything less than economic terrorism.
The Acquisition and Restoration Council, a state agency that oversees the use of public conservation lands and makes recommendations on new lands for purchase, will discuss Florida Power & Light Co.'s turbine project Thursday and make its decision Friday. FPL wants to put nine wind machines on the island, six on its own property and three on state-owned land that is leased by the county. The county learned of the state meeting Friday and added the turbine discussion to Tuesday's morning commission meeting agenda. The county apologized to residents for the late notice, but felt it was important to have the discussion prior to the Tallahassee hearings, said Erick Gill, a county spokesman. ..."It's unfortunate we're forced to react on such late notice, but we have to move forward," said Commissioner Doug Coward, who has opposed putting the turbines on public conservation land.
ARC Chairman David "Lane" Green Tall Timbers Research Station 13093 Henry Beadel Drive Tallahassee, Florida 32312 via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Wind turbines like the ones proposed by Florida Power & Light Co. on Hutchinson Island have been called ugly by residents worried about the 400-foot-tall structures with their large, whirling blades. Imagine the turbines standing atop a concrete foundation 10- to 20-feet high on a public beach access. The large pedestals could be needed to protect the towers from a storm surge washing over the dunes along the Hutchinson Island coastline where FPL proposes to build the electricity-producing wind turbines. Henrietta McBee, FPL's director of project development, raised that possibility when she and St. Lucie County Administrator Doug Anderson visited the Horse Hollow Wind Farm near Abilene, Texas, early in January.
Fortunately, Florida Power & Light Co. has withdrawn plans to build 400-foot windmills on two oceanfront parks in St. Lucie County. Unfortunately, moving three of the wind turbines to other public land bought for conservation would be no improvement. It would be the same problem in a new location. No matter how much the state wants to emphasize renewable energy, allowing such private projects on preservation land would set a bad precedent for the entire state. ...If, as a utility spokeswoman said, FPL wants to be a good neighbor, it's easy: Stop the push to build windmills on conservation lands.
Seeking a new source of energy for this region, Florida Power & Light wants to build nine 400-foot wind turbines along the beach. Some would be on the company's Hutchinson Island property. No problem there. Some, though, also would be at Frederick Douglass and John Brooks parks, which the public bought to preserve. Problem. ...It would be stupid, however, for St. Lucie to give up beachfront at a time when it's so expensive to acquire. And make no mistake, the public would be giving up beachfront, even though some county commissioners have maintained that beachgoers would see no difference. Who are they kidding? A 400-foot turbine that causes the light to flicker would have no more impact than a seagull?
Jane Brooks, who has been active for 30 years in conservation efforts and worked with her husband for the state to buy the property, said she favors alternative energy sources but not on public beaches. She cited a management plan that says John Brooks Park was purchased to "maintain the land in as natural a state as possible" and to "preserve a section of coastline from further development, protect its native plants and animals and provide recreational opportunities for the people of St. Lucie County." Coward said that allowing wind turbines contradicts promises made to voters when they approved a bond issue to buy beach access for preservation and recreation.
As much as Florida needs more clean energy alternatives, giant windmills don't belong on St. Lucie County beaches that were bought with public money to preserve. Florida Power & Light Co., whose representatives are lobbying county commissioners, wants to put five wind turbines on the company's property near the utility's nuclear plant on Hutchinson Island. ...Commissioner Doug Coward supports clean energy, but he correctly questions the legality of using public land for private profit. He also worries that the windmills could "change the character of the landscape" and prevent people from enjoying the rare South Florida experience of less-developed beaches.