“If you put a wind farm down here in New Mexico, you might not only be whacking New Mexico breeding birds, but you might be whacking birds that are breeding in Alaska or the Canadian Arctic,” Roemer said.
Library filed under Impact on Birds from New Mexico
The rule shields producers enrolled in the plan and operating in compliance with it from punishment for the accidental death or disturbance of the bird the EPA has targeted for listing as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
As more giant wind farms are erected, an increasing number of hawks are slashed and killed by turbine blades. Oil and gas exploration is fragmenting many hawk habitats. Urban-suburban growth, pesticides, herbicides, electricity lines and climate change are other stressors, he said. The only way to understand what is happening to hawks is to collect data over many decades.
Should the lesser prairie chicken become listed as threatened or endangered - and it's close now - there would be significant restrictions on companies hoping to plant towering turbines across a five-state region believed to have some of the nation's best wind energy potential. "We've never seen the likes of this," said Texas Parks and Wildlife Department wildlife biologist Heather Whitlaw, who is part of conservation efforts with the other states and believes the bird could be listed within two years. "Anybody who puts anything on our landscape would be evaluated in one form or another."