Article

Wildlife concerns voiced at wind park hearing

Concerns about the safety of birds and bats were voiced at a state hearing yesterday on a proposal to construct a wind-energy park in Coos County. ...A subcontractor for the developer conducted a study of the birds and bats in the project area, but Don Kent, a member of the site committee and the Natural Heritage Board, said it was inadequate.

CONCORD - Concerns about the safety of birds and bats were voiced at a state hearing yesterday on a proposal to construct a wind-energy park in Coos County.

Granite Reliable Power LLC hopes to build the park, comprising 33 turbine towers, each 410 feet tall, and about 20 miles of roads in an environmentally-sensitive area. It would generate enough emissions-free electricity to power 40,000 homes, supporters say.

There are at least 23 species of birds in the area. They include the purple finch (the state bird) and some species in decline, such as the Bicknell's thrush and the three-toed woodpecker.

Also, two mammals, the pine marten and the Canada lynx, use that type of habitat and are considered species of concern.

The state Site Evaluation Committee plans to decide before May 6 whether to approve, deny or modify the proposal for the $275 million project. Deliberations yesterday, in a hearing room of the Public Utilities Commission, did not include comments from the applicant, proponents or opponents.

The committee plans to continue discussions next Wednesday at 1 p.m.

If approved by the state, the... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

CONCORD - Concerns about the safety of birds and bats were voiced at a state hearing yesterday on a proposal to construct a wind-energy park in Coos County.

Granite Reliable Power LLC hopes to build the park, comprising 33 turbine towers, each 410 feet tall, and about 20 miles of roads in an environmentally-sensitive area. It would generate enough emissions-free electricity to power 40,000 homes, supporters say.

There are at least 23 species of birds in the area. They include the purple finch (the state bird) and some species in decline, such as the Bicknell's thrush and the three-toed woodpecker.

Also, two mammals, the pine marten and the Canada lynx, use that type of habitat and are considered species of concern.

The state Site Evaluation Committee plans to decide before May 6 whether to approve, deny or modify the proposal for the $275 million project. Deliberations yesterday, in a hearing room of the Public Utilities Commission, did not include comments from the applicant, proponents or opponents.

The committee plans to continue discussions next Wednesday at 1 p.m.

If approved by the state, the project would also need to get federal permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

A subcontractor for the developer conducted a study of the birds and bats in the project area, but Don Kent, a member of the site committee and the Natural Heritage Board, said it was inadequate. He proposed another study be done one year before construction to serve as a basis of comparison.

"If I find 30 birds dead around a turbine, is that a lot or a little? I won't know if there isn't a good baseline," Kent said.

Committee member Mike Harrington of the Public Utilities Commission asked what the benefit would be in waiting a year for baseline results in a new study.

"I wonder what that would do to financing with federal stimulus money," he said. "And I have no idea what an unreasonable impact would be ... are we interested in how many we have displaced or how many are killed?"

Both, Kent answered. "What we are doing is quantifying those impacts."

While Granite Reliable Power officials acknowledge the project would affect a lot of sensitive, high-elevation habitat, the company has agreed to compensate for the loss. It has proposed buying 2,181 acres of adjacent high-elevation lands and wetlands for the New Hampshire Department of Fish and Game and providing about $750,000 for additional conservation acquisitions.

The high-elevation mitigation plan would cost the applicant $2.4 million.


Source: http://www.unionleader.com/...

APR 21 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/19920-wildlife-concerns-voiced-at-wind-park-hearing
back to top