Articles filed under Impact on Wildlife
With the demand for nickel skyrocketing, the Rio Tuba mine is now on the brink of expanding deeper into the rainforest, adding almost 10 square miles to its current footprint. Local environmentalists fear that it will wipe out the forest’s fragile ecosystem and increase toxic runoff into the rivers that flow past the farmland down below, jeopardizing the crops.
“Any species whose numbers are this low requires that we not take any additional action that could harm these whales,” political and environmental author and activist Michael Shellenberger said of the endangered North Atlantic right whales. “Particularly given that we have an abundance of nuclear and natural gas resources that would provide a sufficient alternative to these large industrial wind turbines.”
The decision to switch to monopiles "comes as a shock, given the lack of consulation," the NRDC wrote in a letter to Equinor. "The potential sudden reversal will undermine the initial trust and goodwill that Equinor has developed thus far … " Added Carl LoBue, NY oceans program manager for the Nature Conservancy, called it, "disappointing on multiple levels to lose that quiet foundation as an option. Going forward, we’ll be working to make sure the [pile driving] provisions are protective of marine life in New York, where we have whales basically year-round."
BAR HARBOR — Researchers last week said the North Atlantic right whale population dropped to 336 in 2020, an 8 percent decrease from the previous year.
Experts in Scotland found exposure to electromagnetism triggered 'behavioural and physiological responses' in around 60 brown crabs at the St Abbs Marine Station. ...The cables for offshore renewable energy also emit an electromagnetic field that attracts the crabs and causes them to become stationary, which affects breeding and migration, according to the team.
Can protections for wildlife coexist with industrial wind turbines? Apparently not in Kansas.
“To be clear, the High Prairie Wind Farm has been curtailed from before dusk to after dawn since April 19, 2021,” Geoff Marke, chief economist for the Missouri Office of the Public Counsel said in sworn testimony filed last week with the Missouri Public Service Commission. Ameren halted night operations for several weeks this spring after four bats, which are nocturnal, and 52 birds, including a bald eagle, were discovered dead on the property, according to a report submitted to federal wildlife officials.
“We’re disappointed in this rule. This was an opportunity to do more in a situation where this population is continuing to disappear,” said Amy Knowlton, a senior scientist at the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium. Knowlton said that at least an 80% reduction was needed. “Our feeling is that that (69% reduction) is not a strong enough target considering the status of right whales and the amount of risk,” said Gib Brogan, senior campaign manager at Oceana.
[S]ome fear that this project and others in the planning stage could also irreparably harm Massachusetts fishing and lobstering industries in the vicinity of these turbine sites. But that didn’t stop the Biden administration, as part of its aggressive offshore wind and renewable-energy agenda, from issuing final permits for Vineyard Wind in May. It’s evident that not all green-conscious activists believe wind power’s the optimum clean-energy solution.
Concerns about the fate of the right whale, whose population is dwindling, are not new. The downturn in the whale population is already happening without any wind farms being built, primarily because the whales are being hit by boats or becoming ensnared in fishing nets. Still, officials from 17 prominent environmental groups wrote a letter to the National Marine Fisheries Service in September 2020 raising concerns that regulators were failing to protect environmentally endangered mammals, including right whales, in their review of offshore wind projects. It’s unclear whether any changes were made in response to the letter; efforts to reach two of the signers were unsuccessful. Erica Fuller of the Conservation Law Foundation in Boston did not return calls over a two-day period.
The group, Nantucket Residents Against Turbines, says the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and National Marine Fisheries failed to ensure that Vineyard Wind would not jeopardize the survival of federally listed critically endangered species like the North Atlantic right whale. The suit also names Interior Secretary Debra Haaland and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. "The North Atlantic right whale is on the verge of extinction. However, one of its longtime safe havens – where there is ample food and protective areas for birthing and rearing young – is the area immediately south-southwest of Nantucket Island," the lawsuit reads.
Little is known about the impact offshore wind could have on wildlife. Scientists across the country agree we need to be monitoring its potential impacts, though it’s not consistently studied across the country. “I believe strongly in responsible development of offshore wind. I think it is a key to fighting climate change,” said Jessica Redfern, a senior scientist at the New England Aquarium. “What’s critically important is that it is responsibly developed and to have responsible development, we need to continue monitoring and understanding species numbers, understanding a species that are in the area, how long they’re there.”
The agency said negative impacts to commercial and recreational fishing would be “major” and found there would be “minor to moderate” beneficial impacts in terms of jobs and investment in the local economy. The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) on the project, released on BOEM’s website Monday, Aug. 16, examines the potential environmental impacts of the proposal to build up to 15 wind turbines and an offshore substation in federal waters about 35 miles off the coast of Montauk. BOEM says in the FEIS that it prefers an alternative proposal to protect habitat by carefully siting just 11 turbines there.
Texas Republican decries renewable energy projects, saying, “This is the green stuff that is just out of control and is going to bring the nation down.”
In Saint-Brieuc, the French state sacrifices marine biodiversity to the climate
A team of biologists relocated 139 tortoises from their habitat to make way for the solar panels in the Yellow Pine Solar Project, one of four large solar energy developments initiated in Southern Nevada. ...In a span of a few weeks, 30 tortoises were killed, possibly by badgers. Conservationists believe relocation stress made the reptiles vulnerable and drought caused badgers to look for new sources of prey. Wildlife experts are still looking into the exact cause.
Between December and May, almost a quarter of the right whale population may be present in the region, and the individual residence time for whales has increased to 13 days during the period, the study states. Visual and acoustic monitoring, from flight surveys and photography, showed consistent use of the wind energy area by a third of the species, including 30 per cent of breeding females. The study was funded by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the federal agency responsible for permitting offshore wind development, as well as the state Clean Energy Center.
Conducted by scientists with NOAA Fisheries, the New England Aquarium and the Center for Coastal Studies using aerial survey data from 2011 through 2019, the study found that 327 unique right whales have been spotted in the waters of southern New England, making the area a crucial habitat for a species teetering on the edge of extinction. Scientists estimate the North Atlantic right whale population at less than 400 total specimens, including approximately 100 breeding females.
The island is a special protection area, meaning it was selected by the ecological network of NATURA and its birds directive to protect one or more rare, threatened, or vulnerable bird species or specific regularly occurring migratory species. A report the HOS published in March 2020 found that erecting wind turbines will have detrimental consequences for Antikythera’s biodiversity. Among the impacts, the group found that fatigued birds reaching the island after having crossed the Mediterranean could be killed by the wind turbines or avoid the island altogether and eventually die from exhaustion further out to sea.
Michael Shellenberger doesn’t live in New Jersey. He doesn’t even live on the East Coast. But the California resident, author and environmental advocate spoke about how an offshore wind farm project planned 15 miles off the coast from Atlantic City to Stone Harbor is bad for the environment, wildlife, marine life and the fishing industry.