Library filed under Impact on Birds from Massachusetts
The recent record-breaking auction of development rights for offshore wind-energy installations off the coast of southern New England proves that developers are confident that obstacles to their construction and operation will likely be few. But after just two years of operation of the nation’s first offshore wind facility — the much-heralded Block Island Wind Farm — there is still a great deal unknown about their long-term environmental impact.
Construction of the first off-shore wind farm in Massachusetts has a hit a snag with the D.C. Circuit chiding regulators about plans to protect shorebirds.
The long-stalled offshore wind project planned for the coastal waters off Massachusetts could face even more legal roadblocks. Federal appeals court judges today signaled skepticism about whether the government had properly determined how to minimize the project's impact on migratory birds.
Federal agencies violated Endangered Species Act and must go back to the drawing board to evaluate impacts and protection measures for birds and right whales. ...The plaintiffs have long argued that Nantucket Sound is the wrong place for this project. The court's decision requires the federal government to go back to the drawing board to take the required hard look at the impacts that make Cape Wind's proposal so harmful for the environment.
The technology lets researchers track all of the tagged birds on one frequency but identify them separately, including 600 birds and bats tagged by other researchers in the Gulf of Maine. ...The Nantucket Sound pilot project is designed to help researchers figure out what marine and coastal birds are doing and where they are doing it offshore, said Caleb Spiegel, a biologist with the wildlife service, which is supporting the work.
EAST SANDWICH - The view from Spring Hill Beach includes pieces from a complicated puzzle: large wind turbines, tiny birds and David.
Bird deaths by the town's wind turbines are causing concern among local birders even though some favor alternative energy. Photos of dead birds were taken by Windwise, which opposes the turbines, and e-mailed to the Advocate. On Tuesday, Windwise member Ken Pottel said someone from the state environmental police is looking into it.
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.
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 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.
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!"
Is the Massachusetts Audubon Society, with a mission to protect birds, selling them out for a contract worth over 7,000,000 dollars to monitor their deaths? ...The saga of the Massachusetts Audubon Society and the Cape Wind project continues with the January 14, 2008 release of the MMS Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Massachusetts Audubon's lack of follow through on its Challenge to Cape Wind and its permitting agencies, to "Get it right." According to a story written by reporter Beth Delay of the Boston Globe on January 15, 2008, just one day after the DEIS release, Jack Clarke, director of public policy and government relations for the Massachusetts Audubon Society is satisfied that the MMS Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the Cape Wind project has addressed the groups concerns, ""They (MMS) have done an adequate and thorough job of reviewing the potential environmental impacts with regard to avian life" he said." It would seem Mr. Clarke has conveniently forgotten "The Mass Audubon Challenge" clearly stated publicly in the media.
While Cape Wind faces stiff opposition to its proposed turbine site in Nantucket Sound, the other wind farm in southeastern Massachusetts appears to be moving forward without the same intense scrutiny. That could change, however, when the results of an avian study being conducted in Buzzards Bay are known.
NEW BEDFORD - The Boston developer who wants to build a 300-megawatt wind farm in Buzzards Bay called the results of preliminary bird studies "encouraging" but said it is too early to determine whether threats to endangered terns that nest and feed in the bay could kill the $750 million project. "I am fifty-percent comfortable," said Jay Cashman of Patriot Renewables, LLC., a renewable energy subsidiary of his construction company, Jay Cashman Inc.
Few are aware of the staggering profit by way of contracts payable to avian specialists in an industry borne from wind towers that kill birds. This service industry is referred to as "Adaptive Management," and/or "long-term environmental monitoring." Its value is $2 million to $3 million first year startup for a wind project, based on the value of Altamont, Calif., wind tower monitoring contracts. These contracts represent $1 million per year paid to the monitor during construction phase, and impose terms as Mass Audubon has in their "Challenge" press release: "We also propose adoption of an Adaptive Management Plan that includes a rigorous monitoring program beginning at the construction phase and continuing for at least three years post-construction." ..........Mass Audubon is in a position to profit by counting bird carcasses, "monitoring," while attempting to "solve" this problem; the industry term for this is "mitigation," if Cape Wind is permitted and construction begins.
The Cape Wind project is proposed for an ecosystem and aviary corridor with documented endangered species, and that is under current and conflicting use as an essential fish habitat. “Clean, green, renewable” is not benign when it represents an industrial-scale wind facility comparable in scale to a land area the size of Manhattan Island proposed to be introduced into this ecosystem. The magnitude of the Cape Wind project, along with the fact that this is nascent technology, merits deep consideration. One consideration that must be evaluated is the objectivity of any agency involved in the permit review process. If, as example, Mass Audubon has a financial stake, for whatever reason, in the outcome of any inquiry, such as the process of accounting for any wildlife mortality that stems from a major power plant such as Cape Wind, then that is a prima facie reason to question the objectivity of the subsequent analysis. That Mass Audubon, or any of its members, would profit from a project it was reviewing, should clue any reasonable observer that the results might be tainted. Mass Audubon’s “preliminary approval” of Cape Wind is taken at face value: “no harm to birds.”