Library filed under Impact on Wildlife from Illinois
Opponents argue that the 600-foot-tall, 2,400-ton turbines would diminish the area’s natural beauty and harm sensitive geologic features that provide habitat to 16 endangered species, including bats and crustaceans that live in caves and underground streams. ...Opponents got a boost in October, when the Illinois Department of Natural Resources published a report, known as an Ecological Compliance Assessment Tool (EcoCAT), examining how natural areas and endangered species could be affected by the proposed wind farm. The agency made 19 recommendations. The first was for the developer to consider an alternate location.
The phrase “free as the wind” has long symbolized something comforting without cost. The wind has cooled humanity, and smelled good too.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is developing an environmental impact statement to evaluate the potential of issuing incidental take permits for protected bird and bat species if regional wind industry development grows. According to a news release by the service, the states within the plan are Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. It is called the Midwest Wind Energy Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan.
Under questioning from attorney Rick Porter, who is representing residents fighting the wind farm, Shank confirmed he was aware that Mainstream was planning to take no measures to mitigate the harm to the ornate box turtle and the plains hognose snake.
The promise of wind turbine energy is starting to give way to the realities of energy production. As more wind farm proposals sweep into Illinois - the nation's leader in new wind turbines last year - questions surface about how "green" an energy source they are.
Wahl's attorney, Rick Porter, told the commission that only the county could protect the Wahl property, not the Department of Natural Resources. He noted that the state report said the turbines would likely affect the habitat of threatened species such as the plains hognose snake and the ornate box turtle.
A company's plan for wind turbines in southeastern Whiteside County would likely harm endangered species, a state official says. The state Department of Natural Resources is particularly concerned about the effect on the species in two nature preserves in Lee County.
An environmentalist testified Wednesday that proposed turbines in southeastern Whiteside County should be farther away from a natural prairie. Jerry Paulson, director of the Rockford-based Natural Land Institute, spoke on behalf of Greg Wahl, who owns 143 acres in the area of the planned wind farm. Twenty-two of the acres are what Wahl calls undisturbed prairie.
Wind turbines are responsible for the deaths of between 10,000 and 40,000 birds each year, according to the American Bird Conservancy. Debate over the significance of the threat turbine blades pose to migratory birds is about as old as the concept of wind farms themselves. It began in Altamont Pass, Calif., site of one of the first U.S. wind farms, where there were more than 4,000 turbines. Hundreds of bird carcasses were found on the farm grounds, leading bird conservationists to propagate information that wind turbines were inherently deadly to birds.
Some say counting carcasses isn't enough. That's why Illinois is changing the way it wants studies of wildlife around wind farms to be performed as more of the clean energy installations are planned around the state. Previous research has been based almost entirely on mortality counts, the process by which bird and bat carcasses are scooped up early in the morning within a several hundred foot radius of wind turbine bases. But studies now are aiming to determine a more long-range impact on avian and terrestrial creatures by examining how animals react to the sudden presence of a vertical structure soaring as high as 450 feet into the sky. The shift in practice comes as other mortality studies are under way in the area, but only a few have been completed in the state. ..."It's unfair to assume, I think, that there's no environmental effects from wind (energy)," said Keith Shank, an impact assessment specialist with the DNR. "Until we get some firm data, the problem is, people are making multimillion-dollar investments with insufficient information."
Report of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to Governor Rod Blagojevich and the 95th Illinois General Assembly.
How power-generating wind turbines affect birds and bats figured prominently in testimony Thursday as a county hearing on the proposed White Oak Wind Energy Center entered its third day. Paul Kerlinger, a bird migration and ecology expert from Cape May Point, N.J., spoke before the McLean County Zoning Board of Appeals. About 160 people attended the hearing at Heartland Community College.
A National Audubon Society chapter based in the Twin Cities has withdrawn its opposition to a proposed wind farm near the Mackinaw River on the Woodford-McLean county line. Angelo Capperella, spokesman for the John Wesley Powell Chapter of the Audubon Society, plans to be at the McLean County Zoning Board of Appeals hearing Tuesday on a special use permit the Chicago-based Ivenergy Wind LLC has requested for its White Oak Wind Energy Project. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in rooms 1406-1407 of the Community Commons Building at Heartland Community College. Invenergy LLC isn’t out of the woods yet, however. McLean County Department of Building and Zoning director Phil Dick said his office has received several requests from residents in the area of the proposed wind farm asking that the hearing be continued.
In popular Halloween folklore, vampires are able to transform into bats. And, of course, fiction tells us that one way to kill a vampire, and thus the bat, is with a stake through the heart. But in areas around the United States, a new potential bat killer has emerged - wind turbines.
The Bloomington-based John Wesley Powell chapter of the National Audubon Society wants Invenergy LCC to do a little more bird watching. On Wednesday, Angelo Capparella, the chapter’s conservation chairman and a bird expert at Illinois State University, asked Woodford County zoning officials to require the wind farm company to redo a study of the potential impact its turbines might have on birds. Capparella plans to repeat the request when McLean County officials discuss the company’s plan next month.
SPRINGFIELD - Here's some legislation that's for the birds. Literally.