Library filed under Impact on Birds from New Jersey
State environmental officials oppose wind turbines anywhere in the Delaware Bay, a position that could jeopardize an Ocean County firm's plans for a wind park there. The Department of Environmental Protection cited potential threats to migratory birds, oyster seed beds and other resources in an Aug. 20 letter to Delsea Energy, of Toms River. Scott Brubaker, the DEP's assistant commissioner for land use management, wrote "the Delaware Bay is not an appropriate area for development of wind energy."
Turbines already are taking a heavy toll in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Game Commission released a report last spring showing the death rate is highest for bats, which additionally face being wiped out by a mysterious phenomenon called "white-nose syndrome." The evidence has mounted since studies in 2004 showed 1,500 to 4,000 bats annually were killed by the 44 turbines on West Virginia's Backbone Mountain.
Ongoing studies of birds, marine mammals and sea turtles off the Jersey Shore have found an abundance of life in an area where hundreds of wind turbines could be spinning by 2020, participants in a public meeting said today. ..."We're trying to figure out where are the areas of sensitive habitat, if you will, areas that perhaps we should think twice about or avoid before we build something," he said. "The objective here is to try and steer these facilities to areas where impacts will be reduced."
Will the state Division of Fish and Wildlife prevent tall wind turbines from being constructed in any location south of Stone Harbor to protect migratory birds and bats? Cape May's Energy Committee, at a July 24 meeting, discussed limitations the state may place on building a tall wind turbine anywhere on Cape Island. Interim City Manager Bruce MacLeod, also a member of the energy committee, said the state has proposed drawing a line of demarcation 10 kilometers (6.21 miles) from the end of state or about six miles from the end of the Garden State Parkway for high wind turbines. Any wind turbines south of that line would have to be of limited height. ...At a July 22 Cape May City Council meeting, Deputy Mayor Linda Steenrod said the proposed 10 kilometer rule would limit what the city could do with a wind turbine.
Bluewater Wind would like to put wind turbines at least 6 nautical miles, or nearly 7 regular miles, offshore for two reasons, a company official says. "All our ornithologists and . . . all the avian experts tell us" that nearly all migratory bird flyways are much closer to land, and the issue of whether wind turbines can be seen is "almost a nonissue because it's so far out," said Jim Lanard, director of strategic planning and communications. But David Mizrahi, an avian ecologist and vice president of research for the New Jersey Audubon Society, said, "I'd be a lot more cautious about (the bird issue) than he is."
Offshore wind facilities are expected to have negligible to minor environmental impacts in general - "if the proper siting and mitigation measures are followed," a draft study says. But some activists faulted the draft environmental impact statement by the federal Minerals Management Service. The document covers technologies for tapping offshore wind, wave and current energy. The agency jumped to conclusions about the risks without having adequate information, said Eric Stiles, vice president for conservation and stewardship in the New Jersey Audubon Society. "It's grossly premature to conclude," for example, that impacts on birds will be only moderate, Stiles said.
New Jersey's plan to spend $4.5 million to study birds and marine life offshore prior to a pilot project with up to 80 wind turbines has drawn mixed views from activists. "Our ocean deserves a robust, thorough, and scientifically valid study - not this bargain basement, blue-light special," according to a statement from Cynthia A. Zipf, executive director of Clean Ocean Action, a Sandy Hook-based coalition. Birds should be studied for three years before construction of offshore wind farms, according to a 2006 letter from a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service official. The proposed New Jersey ecological study would last for 18 months. While an 18-month study is "not an end-point," it's "a major milestone for moving forward in making informed and appropriate decisions regarding siting of wind turbines," said Eric Stiles, vice president for conservation and stewardship in the New Jersey Audubon Society.
New Jersey Audubon Society (NJAS) and its 20,000 members generally support environmentally-responsible renewable energy sources, such as wind power, photovoltaic cells, geothermal and hydro-fuel cells. Because traditional energy sources contribute to global climate change, habitat change and degradation, smog pollution, mercury contamination in our waterways, and radioactive waste, NJAS recognizes the importance of developing emission-free sources of energy. However, we are concerned about the potential impacts of these developing technologies on wildlife, and natural habitats.