Library filed under Impact on Birds from Oregon
A federal court has killed a large wind energy project in southeast Oregon over concerns about a declining sage grouse population that needs the area to breed.
The long‐running case over the impacts of proposed industrial‐scale wind energy development on Steens Mountain in southeastern Oregon was put to an end Tuesday afternoon by order of a federal court. The court vacated the Secretary of the Interior’s approval of an industrial‐scale wind project that would have forever marred one of Oregon’s most cherished high desert natural areas.
In this important ruling by the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon, the court vacated the Secretary of the Interior’s approval of the proposed Steens Mountain wind project which would have sited up to 69 turbines and a 230 kv transmission line in area critical for sage grouse. The order is provided below and can also be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
The appeals court decision said the BLM completed no surveys on whether sage grouse were at the site during the winter. "The inaccurate information and unsupported assumptions materially impeded informed decision-making and public participation," the decision said.
According to the environmental groups, a three-judge panel writing for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) had erred in deciding not to survey for sage-grouse at the project site.
Federal regulators did not adequately address whether a proposed wind-turbine project in southeastern Oregon would adversely impact the area's greater sage grouse population, the Ninth Circuit ruled Thursday.
Touted as a green solution to feed our nation's hunger for energy, wind farms are also blamed for killing millions of birds. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates 440,000 birds are killed nationwide each year by wind farms. The number is expected to reach one million per year by 2030. ..."What we don't want to be 10 - 15 years down the road is like the dams, another clean cheap form of energy that turns out to have huge impacts on salmon. It's very hard to go back and retrofit facilities once they're on the ground."
NAW has learned that West Butte Wind Power LLC has withdrawn its permit application enabling the developer to "take" golden eagles at a proposed wind project in central Oregon. ...the developer withdrew its take permit request in March due to the difficulty in finding a power purchase agreement (PPA) for the project.
Next fall, developers hope to break ground on a wind farm big enough to provide electricity for all of Central Oregon. But the whirring blades of wind turbines can kill the federally protected golden eagle --.and now a controversial proposal says that's okay, to a limited extent.
A new map illustrating key sage grouse breeding habitat across the West is designed to help land managers make decisions about where to allow developments like wind power facilities or transmission lines, and where to focus conservation efforts. "The goal now is to lend some consistency to the whole program, so that we can benefit the sage grouse and its habitat."
Kaufman is editor of the Kaufman Field Guide Series, a series of books on birds and national history sold all over North America. "I moved to this area from Arizona because the bird migration here is so spectacular. ...He said radar studies are needed to get a sense of bird movements before the turbines are installed.
Existing wind farms are being reviewed and pending projects are under scrutiny for their potential bird impacts, with four seeing particular attention. The issue is the latest sign of increasing tension between wind development and rural concerns in Oregon.
Last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommended that the Oregon Department of Energy allow wind turbines no closer than 6 miles to a golden eagle nest. The letter concerned the Summit Ridge wind farm in Wasco County, being developed by LotusWorks of Vancouver, Wash.
“The service believes the project, including all turbines, transmission and roads, and associated facilities has the potential to result in injury and mortality of individual eagles and potential loss of nest sites over the life of the project,” wrote Nancy Gilbert, USFWS field supervisor, in the Sept. 20 report.
This important report prepared by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Bend Field Office was submitted to the Energy Facility Siting Officer of the Oregon Department of Energy in reference to the proposed Summit Ridge Wind project. The project to be located in Wasco County Oregon, will include up to 87 wind turbines for a total generating capacity of approximately 200 megawatts. While much of the project site is agricultural land used for dry land winter wheat production, the proposed facility would be built on land one to four miles west of the Deschutes River Canyon extending from river mile 7 on the north end of the project boundary to river mile 31 on the south end. The Service expresses its concern regarding short and long-term Project impacts to migratory birds including bald and golden eagles and bats. Golden eagles, large stick nests, and bald eagles were recently documented in the project vicinity.
A recent study in Klickitat County, Washington indicates 6,500 birds and 3,000 bats are killed annually in the two states-though the number of deaths in the two states may be much higher. ...an untold number of birds are devoured by vultures or coyotes before they're included in the count.
So why are wind companies not being prosecuted for killing birds? Rob Lee, now retired, was one of the Fish and Wildlife Service's lead law-enforcement investigators on the problem of bird kills in Western oil fields. Lee said that he doesn't expect to see any prosecutions because the wind industry is politically correct. This suggests a double standard. In protecting America's wildlife, federal law-enforcement officials are turning their backs on the harm done by "green" energy.
Green power, green jobs, renewable energy collide with the Endangered Species Act in a proposed wind farm in Southwest Washington. The project calling for between 48-60 megawatts of power is proposed for 3,359 acres of Washington Department of Natural Resources land northwest of Naselle, Washington. ...The DNR has the power to stop the project if it deems the project endangers Murrelets.
It is well known that raptors commonly fly at an altitude that puts them at particular risk for collision with wind power blades. Proper siting was touted as the key to green wind power. So why is wind power being sited in an Audubon Important Bird Area, and why is that Important Bird Area slated for border to border wind power development? The answer is simple. Instead of proper planning, Northwest wind power is being allowed to develop wherever infrastructure is available and politicians are agreeable.
The Bureau of Land Management is using some stimulus money to study the effect of wind farms on a dwindling sage grouse population in Central Oregon. BLM spokesman Michael Campbell said the agency hopes to lessen or eliminate any impact. The agency would hire people to tag sage grouse in areas where wind farms are proposed and track the birds' movements to figure out where turbines could be located. Contracts have not yet been awarded.