Articles filed under Impact on Wildlife from Massachusetts
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.
Lawsuits will be filed on behalf of a coalition of environmental groups - including the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, Three Bays Preservation, Animal Welfare Institute, Industrial Wind Action Group, Californians for Renewable Energy, Oceans Public Trust Initiative (a project of the International Marine Mammal Project of the Earth Land Institute), Lower Laguna Madre Foundation - against the federal Fish and Wildlife Service and Minerals Management Service for violations of the Endangered Species Act. ..."It is a shame that the Obama Administration chose political expediency over developing a project in an environmentally responsible place that can actually be built," said Parker.
Cape Wind critics threw up an eleventh-hour roadblock this week, accusing two U.S. government agencies that approved portions of the proposed offshore wind energy project of violating federal laws. "We put them on notice," said Lisa Linowes, executive director of the Industrial Wind Action Group, which tracks the benefits of wind energy projects. Her group and eight others filed a 60-day notice of violations with U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
A group of environmental organizations and opponents of wind energy projects say they likely will file suit if the federal government approves the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm. A 60-day notice of violations of the Endangered Species Act was sent this week to Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin and to the U.S. Interior Department and other federal agencies that have reviewed Cape Wind's plan to build 130 wind turbines in the sound.
I oppose the Cape Wind project, which seeks to despoil and rob us of the pristine nautical legacy bestowed by our forefathers. As a result of the profound damaging regional financial, ecological and public safety consequences Cape Wind would have upon us all, it should not proceed to fruition.
With less than one month before Massachusetts environmental officials are expected to sign off on the draft Ocean Management Plan, Vineyard critics were buoyed recently by a letter from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to the state. FWS said the plan lacks an analysis of alternative wind energy areas in federal waters and does not fully address the risks to protected migratory bird species.
Governor Deval Patrick's goal of 2,000 megawatts of wind power by 2020 will achieve very little at great cost, according to the state's own data. Nonetheless, he is seeking from the Legislature an unprecedented set of special privileges to benefit the wind industry. ...The 5 percent of our state's electricity provided by 710 wind turbines in the Berkshires will not slow the rise of coastal sea levels, but it will mean the irretrievable loss of a globally rare landscape.
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.
The major ecological concern when five wind turbines were built here several years ago was whether they would kill migrating birds. They have, including two ospreys and a peregrine falcon. But as it turns out, it isn't the death of birds that is drawing the most attention. The real casualty is bats. The New Jersey Audubon Society is halfway through a three-year study on the impact of the turbines, and so far twice as many bats as birds have died.
The state plans to protect over 700 acres of ridge line in the Hoosac Mountain range from any future development, including wind turbines, as the Berkshire Natural Resources Council continues to create a corridor of land connecting the Florida and Savoy Mountain state forests. Part of the plan calls for a major hiking trail for North Berkshire.
The media have obscured the significant dangers of this irresponsibly sited project with careless generalizations and speculation. Headlines like "Key hurdles cleared" and "Cape Wind ready to rev up" would have us think that the construction barges and pile drivers are on their way. Suggestions that Cape Wind's approval for a federal lease is just two weeks away are far from the truth. Cape Wind is nowhere near a done deal - and the fight is far from over.
Unlike other forms of green power such as solar panels or landfill methane gas, it's hard to hide a wind turbine, particularly in a state as small and densely populated as Massachusetts. ...That's creating a dilemma for conservationists and environmentalists who support renewable energy, but also want to preserve the state's wildlife population and scenic vistas.
The Minerals Management Service's 800 page Final Environmental Impact Statement on Cape Wind was released on Friday and in a largely favorable review found nearly all impacts to be negligible or minor. The few exceptions, where the 130 turbine wind farm would potentially or certainly have moderate to major impact were on birds, especially marine birds such as terns or sea ducks, on navigation and safety of recreational or commercial fishing boats, although those effects could be mitigated, and on visual resources of Nantucket Sound.
Massachusetts and Vermont wildlife officials are asking the public to help identify bats affected by a mysterious illness known as white nose syndrome. This time of year, bats are normally hibernating in caves and in abandoned mines across the Northeast. But researchers are getting reports of bats weakly flying around in broad daylight or dying on decks and in backyards.
The fate of what would be the nation's first offshore wind farm is calling attention to the political obstacles facing renewable power, despite President-elect Barack Obama's determination to greatly expand its use. The project, called Cape Wind, is a Boston firm's plan to build 130 windmills across 25 square miles of federal waters off Cape Cod. ...A spokesman for the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound says the group sees "lots of room to protest" the government review.
Let's look at Bird Island off the coast of Marion in the center of Buzzards Bay, and what towns around the bay have plans for commercial wind turbines. ...In several years, Bird Island, the largest nesting area of roseate terns in North America, will be surrounded by commercial wind turbines.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service just completed a 97-page "biological opinion" that the 130-wind turbine project off Cape Cod will not harm the Roseate Terns. ...In several years Bird Island, the largest nesting area of Rosate Terns in North America in Buzzards Bay, will be surrounded by commercial wind turbines.
There is a face-off brewing between two federal agencies over the fate of birds in Nantucket Sound, centering on the Cape Wind energy project. At issue is whether the U.S. Minerals Management Service defers to the cautionary advice of its expert peer, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, or will it ramrod the Cape Wind project forward, driven by political considerations? ...In the apparent hurry to permit the Cape Wind project this year, Minerals Management seems poised to ignore the Fish & Wildlife Service. Citizen action is needed to get the message across to Minerals Management: "Proceed with caution. Do not play 'wind turbine Russian Roulette' with endangered species. Move Cape Wind elsewhere, out of harm's way!"
By the time federal regulators stopped accepting public comments about the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm on Monday, two of the letters had already raised some eyebrows among the project's critics. That's because the two letters were signed by the same person, state Division of Marine Fisheries director Paul Diodati, but they struck noticeably different tones. ...Diodati's first letter [dated Feb. 20] spells out the loss of access that fishermen could face as well as concerns about rescue crews reaching a troubled boat in the area. But the second letter, dated March 7, tones down the rhetoric considerably, reducing the section that lists the potential impacts to fisheries to just a few sentences. The section also mentions a couple of possible benefits, such as certain species becoming attracted to the newly built tower foundations.
There is nothing "laughable" about the biological significance of avian mortalities by wind turbines. As Donald Michael Fry, Ph.D., director of pesticides and birds program of the American Bird Conservancy testified to Chairwoman Bordello and members of the House Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Oceans during the Oversight Hearing "Gone with the Wind: Impacts of Wind Turbines on Birds and Bats" on May 1, 2007: "While the actual number of birds killed by wind turbines is unknown, estimates have been made in the range of 30,000 to 60,000 per year at the current level of wind development."