Library filed under Impact on Wildlife from Massachusetts
EAST SANDWICH - The view from Spring Hill Beach includes pieces from a complicated puzzle: large wind turbines, tiny birds and David.
As the permitting process for a wind turbine at Mass Audubon's Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary is about to begin, I still can't connect the dots with regard to common sense here. ...Seems so hypocritical to me since, according to its website, Wellfleet Audubon's woodlands attract a wide variety of wildlife, especially songbirds and shorebirds. But apparently a wind turbine isn't in conflict with nature? Really?
The whales have also caught the attention of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which is overseeing wind farm lease areas off the Vineyard and Rhode Island, and has commissioned the New England Aquarium to do an aerial survey, according to Tim Cole, a research fisheries biologist with the National Marine Fisheries Service.
Environmental advocates and wind energy companies in New England said Thursday they are working on an agreement to protect the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale during offshore development in New England - the same day that 15 of the rare mammals were spotted near Wellfleet.
Bird deaths by the town's wind turbines are causing concern among local birders even though some favor alternative energy. Photos of dead birds were taken by Windwise, which opposes the turbines, and e-mailed to the Advocate. On Tuesday, Windwise member Ken Pottel said someone from the state environmental police is looking into it.
With fewer than 500 known individuals, North Atlantic right whales are the most endangered of the great whales in the North Atlantic. The death of even one whale from human causes sets back the recovery of the species, especially if the lost whale is a female.
A study by Jason Horner in the Journal of Wildlife Management revealed that rather than flying through the turbines the bats hung around to forage. The study in Alberta revealed that 90 percent of the dead bats at the base of the turbines had severe lung damage with no external injuries. ... Bats in the Northeast have an even bigger problem - the fungal disease known as white nose syndrome.
U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's approval of the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm this week prompted a wave of legal threats from opponents who argue the decision violates the Endangered Species Act and other laws. One possible suit even contends the project could hurt endangered right whales. That suit, however, is only one of several possible challenges to the plan by Cape Wind Associates to build 130 wind turbines in the Sound.
There was elation and dejection on the Cape yesterday over Secretary of the Interior Kenneth Salazar's approval of the Cape Wind project. But there was also some consensus - a rare thing for this controversial proposal - that the road to federal approval was long and hard. That was especially true among people who have been part of the debate from the beginning.
Lawsuits will be filed on behalf of a coalition of environmental groups - including the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, Three Bays Preservation, Animal Welfare Institute, Industrial Wind Action Group, Californians for Renewable Energy, Oceans Public Trust Initiative (a project of the International Marine Mammal Project of the Earth Land Institute), Lower Laguna Madre Foundation - against the federal Fish and Wildlife Service and Minerals Management Service for violations of the Endangered Species Act. ..."It is a shame that the Obama Administration chose political expediency over developing a project in an environmentally responsible place that can actually be built," said Parker.
A group of environmental organizations and opponents of wind energy projects say they likely will file suit if the federal government approves the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm. A 60-day notice of violations of the Endangered Species Act was sent this week to Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin and to the U.S. Interior Department and other federal agencies that have reviewed Cape Wind's plan to build 130 wind turbines in the sound.
Cape Wind critics threw up an eleventh-hour roadblock this week, accusing two U.S. government agencies that approved portions of the proposed offshore wind energy project of violating federal laws. "We put them on notice," said Lisa Linowes, executive director of the Industrial Wind Action Group, which tracks the benefits of wind energy projects. Her group and eight others filed a 60-day notice of violations with U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
This 60-day notice of violations of the Endangered Species Act, the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, and other laws, was filed with the U.S. Department of the Interior in connection with the proposed Cape Wind offshore wind energy facility. The detailed notice and supporting appendices explain fundamental failures of the Minerals Management Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Fish and Wildlife Service to adequately assess the risks to the natural environment and to protected and endangered species.
I oppose the Cape Wind project, which seeks to despoil and rob us of the pristine nautical legacy bestowed by our forefathers. As a result of the profound damaging regional financial, ecological and public safety consequences Cape Wind would have upon us all, it should not proceed to fruition.
With less than one month before Massachusetts environmental officials are expected to sign off on the draft Ocean Management Plan, Vineyard critics were buoyed recently by a letter from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to the state. FWS said the plan lacks an analysis of alternative wind energy areas in federal waters and does not fully address the risks to protected migratory bird species.
Governor Deval Patrick's goal of 2,000 megawatts of wind power by 2020 will achieve very little at great cost, according to the state's own data. Nonetheless, he is seeking from the Legislature an unprecedented set of special privileges to benefit the wind industry. ...The 5 percent of our state's electricity provided by 710 wind turbines in the Berkshires will not slow the rise of coastal sea levels, but it will mean the irretrievable loss of a globally rare landscape.
Dozens of wind turbines could sprout within sight of the Massachusetts shoreline under a first-of-its-kind state blueprint with the promise of generating both electricity and controversy. The draft plan, scheduled to be released today, would allow a series of small wind farms of up to 10 turbines each in coastal waters that stretch 3 miles from shore.
The major ecological concern when five wind turbines were built here several years ago was whether they would kill migrating birds. They have, including two ospreys and a peregrine falcon. But as it turns out, it isn't the death of birds that is drawing the most attention. The real casualty is bats. The New Jersey Audubon Society is halfway through a three-year study on the impact of the turbines, and so far twice as many bats as birds have died.
The state plans to protect over 700 acres of ridge line in the Hoosac Mountain range from any future development, including wind turbines, as the Berkshire Natural Resources Council continues to create a corridor of land connecting the Florida and Savoy Mountain state forests. Part of the plan calls for a major hiking trail for North Berkshire.
The media have obscured the significant dangers of this irresponsibly sited project with careless generalizations and speculation. Headlines like "Key hurdles cleared" and "Cape Wind ready to rev up" would have us think that the construction barges and pile drivers are on their way. Suggestions that Cape Wind's approval for a federal lease is just two weeks away are far from the truth. Cape Wind is nowhere near a done deal - and the fight is far from over.