Articles from Florida
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 company planning to build a wind farm with towering turbines on Palm Beach County farmland have dropped their plans. Environmentalists had argued the turbines posed a risk to endangered birds.
The Sugarland Wind Project would have posed an unreasonable risk to the birds. Audubon Florida scientists evaluated the project's risk and came to the conclusion that the danger to birds was really grave. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service also had serious questions and concerns about the project, especially in regards to impacts to federally listed endangered species such as the Everglade Snail Kite and Wood Stork. There were species of birds with very low population numbers documented in the area, where even one death could potentially lead to considerable harm on the species' long term survival.
Environmental groups have objected to the proposed location of the turbines, saying they pose too much of a risk to birds migrating through the Everglades. That includes endangered wood storks and Everglades snail kites. Despite concerns about the risk to birds, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection this month approved a state environmental permit needed for the project.
Siemens, a German conglomerate, announced Tuesday it is laying off 146 employees at its wind turbine nacelle plant in Hutchinson, leaving just 152 employees there. All told, 615 employees in Siemens' wind power business will lose their jobs. Siemens said the change would primarily affect employees in Iowa, Kansas and Florida.
With commissioners Paul Caragiulo and Willie Shaw voting to keep the fund, the board's move sent a strong message that leaders in Sarasota are too broke to gamble on progressive energy efforts. "We need to get realistic," said Commissioner Terry Turner as he presented rough budget projections that show the city could face a $20 million deficit in 10 years.
The biggest cuts will come in Fort Madison, where 407 workers at a wind turbine blade factory will be out of work. About 220 workers there will be retained. The company blamed difficult market conditions due to lack of congressional action on a wind energy tax credit as well as increased use of natural gas-fired power plants and an overall sluggish economy.
Fact is the wind companies are getting by with murder. They are allowed by eager politicians and a handful of agenda-driven groups to flippantly throw out boilerplate numbers that have no basis in scientific fact. They don’t produce facts because they don’t have to. Wind is in vogue and the uninformed but trusting public is not getting the data to make informed decisions about wind’s appropriate use.
"We're not happy with the installation so far," said Griffin. "They're only working intermittently but they are under warranty." The two, 20-foot wind turbines adjacent to the new hanger "B" were supposed to generate enough energy from the wind to power security streetlights along Industrial Park Drive at the airport.
U.S. District Judge Manuel L. Real tossed the final remaining count in Wind Energy's lawsuit, which challenged the city's approval for a proposal from NextEra Energy Resources LLC to repower its 49.5-megawatt wind farm in Riverside County, Calif. - a project about which Wind Energy said it was not sufficiently notified.
Although the Sugarland Wind Project has won approval from the County Commission, it still faces a number of obstacles. The company needs state and federal environmental permits to proceed. There's also the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. And it's a given that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will take a closer look at the impact on wildlife.
Satterlee said the Hutchinson Island project was put on hold while FPL assessed the wind speeds out west. He said while the large wind turbines on the beach were not supported by the public or county commissioners, no one seemed to have a problem with the more inconspicuous 200-foot wind towers.
Today, the Palm Beach County Commission is scheduled to vote on the proposed 114-turbine, 200-megawatt Sugarland Wind project that St. Louis-based Wind Capital Group wants to build on 13,000 acres of farmland east of Belle Glade. "If wind made sense in Florida, wouldn't we be proposing wind here ourselves?"
Members of environmental groups such as the Sierra Club, pleaded with commissioners to delay the decision, saying more study is needed to determine the project's effect on migratory birds and bats. Others said flatly that the project would decimate Everglades bird populations.
"It has to be in the right place," said Jane Graham of Audubon. Building the wind farm without more study of the effect on Everglades birds "equates to gambling with the future of this world-class treasure," she said.
The main objection facing Sugarland Wind is the bird deaths expected from putting towering, fast-spinning blades between Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades, two prime destinations for migrating birds, wading birds and birds of prey. Sugarland backers have said they expect about three to four bird deaths per tower per year.
Splattered birds make going green a tough sell. The risk of birds flying into fast-spinning blades atop wind-catching turbines the size of the Statue of Liberty threatens to torpedo a proposed "wind farm" that could produce non-polluting energy on the edge of the Everglades.
"This is difficult for us to oppose because ... we all love the idea of wind farming," said Steve Horowitz, president of the Friends of Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, which stretches across western Palm Beach County. "The problem here is the location."
Florida Power & Light can build meteorological towers to test wind speeds in western St. Lucie County. So can anyone else as long as the towers are not more than 262 feet high and meet other standards set by the county. Whether the winds justify the creation of turbines will be a topic for another day.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in a July 1 letter to the company called for a more thorough analysis of potential wildlife threats from the wind farm. The federal regulators said that bird "collisions with turbine blades are often fatal, and usually resulting in the animal being effectively eliminated from the breeding population."