Library filed under Impact on Birds from Oklahoma
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.
The federal government's decision to allow companies to seek authorization to kill and harm golden and bald eagles without penalty has come under fire from the Osage Nation. The wind energy industry requested the change, and President Barack Obama's administration announced its decision last week.
President Barack Obama has given the Wind Capital Group the green light to go ahead and build 94 windmills near Burbank, in Osage County.
The Osage Nation is pushing for full archaeological research in the wind farm's acreage, saying the area is some of the densest in all of Oklahoma for culturally significant tribal sites such as camp sites and burials. "We're sitting and waiting on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to make a decision on whether they are going to enforce federal law ... and order an archaeology study, which they did but never brought the tribe in for consultation."
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has not issued a federal bald eagle "take" permit yet to Wind Capital Group, a St. Louis-based energy organization that is opening the 94-turbine Osage Wind farm in Osage County. The Osage Nation, which has oil and other mineral interests in the area, has battled the planned wind farm for years and objects to the possibility of eagle killing for cultural purposes involving the eagle.
"The eagle is a sacred and symbolic figure to the Osage people, and the area targeted for this project contains a high bald eagle population. We oppose the specific area for this project. It all comes down to siting projects in appropriate places, and this is not an appropriate place for a massive wind energy project."
The permit application acknowledges that up three bald eagles a year could be killed by the development over the 40-year life of the project. "I can't come up with the words in English or Osage to put a value on how important these (eagles) are to us and to our everyday survival," said Scott BigHorse, assistant chief for the Osage Nation.
Opponents of the permit, including conservationists and tribes in the area, say they aren't against "green" energy investments. However, they are firmly against the placement of the planned 94-turbine wind farm, which is surrounded within five miles by several active bald eagle nests. ..."If you look at one site, it's not that big of a deal, but you look at all the sites ... collectively, you're looking at a huge impact,"
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Friday it is considering formally listing the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species. The announcement begins a yearlong review ...Fish and Wildlife said it made the decision based on evidence the bird and its habitat are in decline.
Wildlife advocates argue they're not on some quixotic quest - not tilting at windmills. The extinction of dozens, if not hundreds, of animal species by man's encroachment over the years is powerful evidence that we must zealously protect endangered species. We cannot allow Darwin to just sort it out.
That's because general plans for the 345-kilovolt route, known as the V-Plan and including a connecting line into Oklahoma, appear to take the line through prime nesting and breeding habitat for the Lesser Prairie-Chicken in both states. With an estimated two-thirds of the unique bird's original habitat already eliminated by development, officials warn that further encroachment could place the bird on the nation's endangered species list.
Don't get me wrong. The donations are commendable. OG&E doesn't have to give away any money in compensation for pushing prairie chickens off their homes. No other energy company has stepped up to the plate with a similar gesture. But will it really save the birds?
There is no debate about it. The lesser prairie chicken and wind power farms do not mix. "They're genetically predisposed to avoid any vertical structures," said Russ Horton, a research supervisor with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife. ...Officials still are concerned about the impact of wind farm development in Oklahoma's western counties.
This useful paper examines the impact of wind turbine development on species habitat use. In particular, this paper focuses on bird species residing in American grasslands. The abstract of the paper is provided below. The full paper can be downloaded from the links on this page.
Wind power is one of the solutions to our energy needs both here in Oklahoma and beyond, as well as providing a new industry and the jobs that support it. ...Also noteworthy is the potential for wind energy to be not so green after all. Wind farms, like any type of development, built on the wrong site can have a negative impact on the environment. Strides toward solving one conservation problem should not inadvertently cause another.
A plucky little bird in northwest Oklahoma - known for its comical mating dances in which it patters around like a jittery wind-up toy - has found itself pitted against an unlikely environmental foe.
Biologists say power-generating wind turbines proposed for northwestern Oklahoma could push the lesser prairie chicken onto the endangered species list or even into extinction. Huge wind turbines have been proposed across the lesser prairie chicken's habitat in Oklahoma, but it is not the turbine's blades that pose a threat to the birds. Information obtained from radio collar tracking indicate that lesser prairie chickens usually won't go near wind turbines
This statement appears on the Oklahoma Office of the Secretary of the Environment website.
Whooping cranes, one of the world's rarest birds, have waged a valiant battle against extinction. But federal officials warn of a new potential threat to the endangered whoopers: wind farms. Down to as few as 16 in 1941, the gargantuan birds that migrate 2,400 miles each fall from Canada to Texas, thanks to conservation efforts, now number about 266. But because wind energy, one of the fastest growing sources of renewable energy, has gained such traction, whooping cranes could again be at risk - from either crashing into the towering wind turbines and transmission lines or because of habitat lost to the wind farms. "Basically you can overlay the strongest, best areas for wind turbine development with the whooping crane migration corridor," said Tom Stehn, whooping crane coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
This letter was sent to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation in response to a wind energy development proposal slated for the Hal and Fern Cooper Wildlife Management Area (WMA).