Articles filed under Impact on Birds from Ohio
More than 30 state lawmakers on Wednesday urged the Ohio Power Siting Board to reconsider its approval of the Icebreaker wind-farm project 8 to 10 miles northwest of downtown Cleveland only on the condition that it not operate at night for 8 months of the year.
Stephanie Kromer, director of energy and environmental policy at the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, is using the coronavirus as a smokescreen to publicly rally for updating (read: weakening) the National Environmental Policy Act (“Refine regulatory landscape,” June 20).
[The Ohio Power Siting] board unexpectedly imposed restrictions. It said Icebreaker must conduct radar studies of bird and bat traffic over the proposed site before and after construction. And nighttime operation of the turbines must be suspended during the months-long migration periods, unless and until studies conclude that is unnecessary. Opponents, some of whom have filed lawsuits to halt Icebreaker, consider the restrictions a victory.
However, the developers of the project were less than satisfied with one of the conditions of the approval by the OPSB. According to the order, Icebreaker Wind must completely feather its turbines (stopping them from rotating) during nighttime hours from March 1 through November 1 as an initial bird and bat risk mitigation measure.
The extension of the PTC provides a stark reminder of how an influential industry can manipulate the Washington favor factory and in doing so, turn what were supposed to be temporary subsidies into permanent ones worth billions of dollars per year – and even more remarkably, get those subsidies extended without ever getting the money appropriated by Congress.
Bird migration is underway on the southern shore of Lake Erie. At the Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO), a road through a remnant of the once-vast Great Lakes coastal marsh is filling up with cars driven by birders, clutching binoculars and eager for an early glimpse of migratory birds. Robert Sink comes a few times a week from Findlay, Ohio, about an hour away, with his tripod and telephoto camera lens. He posts daily on a Facebook group for Ohio bird photographers. “When the season becomes warmer, I’ll be up here every other day or so,” he tells me.
“What happened with the turbine blade killing that bald eagle over in Wood County — that just confirmed our worst fears,” he said. “That dead eagle is the reality of this issue, and it shows that this can happen right here in our backyard. It is awful, and you just hope you can find someone who is interested on the federal level and get them to take some kind of action.” Mark Shieldcastle, a retired avian biologist from the ODNR who is widely recognized as the region’s preeminent expert on birds and bald eagles, said the flying and hunting patterns of bald eagles put them in a very precarious position when wind turbines sprout in their habitat.
But as the grassroots groups battling the Northwest Ohio wind farm projects continue to wade through a swamp of uncertainty as they deal with attorneys, politicians, lobbyists and the Ohio Power Siting Board, which regulates the siting of wind farms, their strongest ally might turn out to be a scavenger whose persona affords it an almost saintly aura — the bald eagle.
The staff of the Ohio Power Siting Board has recommended that the six wind turbines the Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. (LEEDCo) has proposed building 10 miles offshore operate only during daylight hours for 10 months out of the year while experts determine whether technology designed to detect bird and bat collisions with the turbines is effective. LEEDCo has tried without success to negotiate a compromise. The issue and other issues regarding sophisticated radar systems are now headed into hearings that begin Sept. 24 in Columbus.
This is the first Lake Erie wind turbine project that has been recommended for approval by the OPSB. They have placed some “conditions” on their approval of the project, but if those conditions are met with studies that lack transparency, or are built on flimsy science, or by cherry-picking numbers and portions of studies that push a favorable breeze on this wind farm, we all lose.
The Ohio Power Siting Board has recommended conditional approval of the $126 million Icebreaker six-turbine wind turbine project proposed by the Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. 8 to 10 miles northwest of downtown. But the staff has included more than 34 conditions. The six-turbine wind farm is expected to look similar to this offshore wind farm near Block Island in the Atlantic Ocean.
“These little songbirds migrate at night and they can’t see tall structures like this. When you’ve got a 400 foot pole with three massive blades sticking out it would be a gauntlet for these little migrating birds,” said Kim Kaufman of the Observatory.
The OPSB postponed the adjudicatory hearing in response to a request from its staff to suspend the procedural schedule in this case to allow additional time to obtain more information from Icebreaker Windpower on the pre- and post-construction radar technology monitoring protocol selected for use at the project site for determining project impacts.
The recent cancelation of the proposed Camp Perry demonstration windmill was celebrated by the American Bird Conservancy of Virginia, and the Black Swamp Bird Observatory — a local bird research, conservation and education organization headquartered in Oak Harbor.
For the second time since 2014, the Ohio Air National Guard has backed away from its plans to erect a commercial-scale, $1.5 million wind turbine at Camp Perry — a decision that the region’s biggest birding organization hopes will put an end to five years of contentious litigation and send a message to other would-be developers.
The victory sets an especially important precedent because many other wind energy projects are currently being planned around the Great Lakes, which could threaten the future of millions of migratory birds and bats. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has recommended that no turbines be built within 3 miles of the Great Lakes shoreline.
The Black Swamp Bird Observatory and American Bird Conservancy dropped a federal lawsuit Thursday after the Ohio Air National Guard announced it had no plans to build a wind turbine at Camp Perry near Lake Erie.
Birding groups and environmentalists are heralding the state's decision this week to kick back a request to certify construction of a wind turbine project planned for Lake Erie in 2018.
A national birding organization based in suburban Washington is working with northwest Ohio’s Black Swamp Bird Observatory again on a lawsuit to block the Ohio Air National Guard’s plan for a commercial-scale wind turbine along the western Lake Erie shoreline.
Black Swamp Executive Director Kim Kaufman and ABC's Michael Hutchins, director of the conservancy's Bird-Smart Wind Energy Campaign, said they support clean, renewable sources of energy such as wind power. But they maintain that "the Great Lakes are not a good place for large-scale, commercial wind energy projects," particularly in a region designated as a Globally Important Bird Area.