Article

Lawsuits pit avian mortality rates against wind power - California environmental groups are concerned at regulation of permits

Environmentalists in California are taking issue with the way wind power is affecting native bird populations in the area. Citing research by the California Energy Commission (CEC), two groups have launched lawsuits against the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, saying that permits issued for wind turbines do not sufficiently account for the environmental impact of the energy source.

of Supervisors on Oct. 31 and 28, respectively. The county board is in charge of issuing permits for industry development in the bay area of California.

The CEC estimates that 881 to 1,300 birds of prey are killed in the turbines each year.
“The world’s largest wind project was built in the wrong place, right next to the world’s largest nesting ground,” said Elizabeth Murdock, the executive director of the GGAS.
“For the last 20 years, these wind terminals have been operating at Altamont pass and killing thousands of birds a year,” she said.
She said that the permits the county granted to the wind companies did not adequately account for the environmental impact — and attempts to change the permit restrictions did not fulfil all of the recommendations of the CEC.
Murdock added that California state laws require that the county do an environmental impact report on the project before it is permitted — which was not done — and ensure that bird kill is reduced as much as is feasible.
“The county is the agency that governs the permitting process,” she said. “The county had the option to take action; we didn’t feel like they did a good enough job. We want to... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

of Supervisors on Oct. 31 and 28, respectively. The county board is in charge of issuing permits for industry development in the bay area of California.

The CEC estimates that 881 to 1,300 birds of prey are killed in the turbines each year.
“The world’s largest wind project was built in the wrong place, right next to the world’s largest nesting ground,” said Elizabeth Murdock, the executive director of the GGAS.
“For the last 20 years, these wind terminals have been operating at Altamont pass and killing thousands of birds a year,” she said.
She said that the permits the county granted to the wind companies did not adequately account for the environmental impact — and attempts to change the permit restrictions did not fulfil all of the recommendations of the CEC.
Murdock added that California state laws require that the county do an environmental impact report on the project before it is permitted — which was not done — and ensure that bird kill is reduced as much as is feasible.
“The county is the agency that governs the permitting process,” she said. “The county had the option to take action; we didn’t feel like they did a good enough job. We want to encourage them, through litigation, to do the right thing.”
Most important, she said, is an immediate shutdown of the turbines during the winter, when bird kills are highest. Even then, she said, bird kills will still be in the thousands.
The federal eagle protection act, one of many California laws on bird kills, stipulates that killing one eagle is illegal —and Murdock said that golden eagles, protected by these laws, are one of the most affected birds. She also noted that raptors, native birds of prey, are very often sucked into the turbines.
CARE president Michael Boyd said that the Alameda County Board of Supervisors has made a number of concessions to the wind industry essentially allowing them to be exempt from California Environmental Quality legislation.
Boyd said that the controversy has “given a black eye to the wind industry, making it harder and more difficult for wind projects worldwide to get funding for their project.”
“Until we can come to an agreement, wind is going to suffer worldwide,” he said.
The Centre for Biological Diversity has also filed a lawsuit against many of the companies involved in the area’s wind power industry.
Lara Sim, deputy chief of staff for Alameda County supervisor Keith Carson’s office, said that the lawsuits assert that the county didn’t comply with the California Environmental Quality Act — but argued that the county is doing everything possible to mitigate the environmental concerns.
“Our attorney reviewed this carefully and believes that we fully complied. Nevertheless, this has not only been very thoroughly analyzed, but it will be subject to even more rigorous analysis in three years when the permits expire,” Sim noted.
She added that the county’s decision on the permits will be re-examined in three years.

Source: http://umanitoba.ca/manitob...

DEC 1 2005
https://www.windaction.org/posts/564-lawsuits-pit-avian-mortality-rates-against-wind-power-california-environmental-groups-are-concerned-at-regulation-of-permits
back to top