Library filed under Impact on Birds from West Virginia
AES Laurel Mountain LLC was sentenced earlier this month by U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael J. Aloi after reaching a plea agreement ...The company was sentenced to pay the maximum fine of $15,000 for each of two misdemeanor counts of “unlawful taking” of migratory birds, a crime under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
The filing contended the company failed in its legal obligation to comply with the Migratory Bird Treaty Act by not using “reasonable, prudent and effective measures to avoid or minimize the impact of lighting on migratory birds.”
The turbines, positioned just so to harness the wind, are dead in the path of hawks, yellow-billed cuckoos, wood thrushes and other migrating birds. On one night last September, Mount Storm turbines killed 59 birds when a light was left on in one of the towers.
A West Virginia wind farm that I wrote about last month because of its battery installation was the site of a big bird kill in October, according to a consultant's report for the Fish and Wildlife Service.
Bird kills reinforce the need for "mandatory federal operational standards, as opposed to the optional, voluntary guidelines that are currently under discussion." According to the American Bird Conservancy, the West Virginia bird kill numbers fly in the face of industry assertions that wind turbines kill, on average, two birds per year.
The massive Laurel Mountain Wind Farm, near Elkins, West Virginia was just opened officially with a ribbon-cutting ceremony today, but it's already making news in a most ungreenfriendly way. Word is leaking out regarding a massive kill of migratory songbirds that took place about two weeks ago at one of the turbine farm's installations.
AES' Laurel Mountain wind energy facility in West Virginia experienced significant bird mortality over the weekend of October 1, 2011. Nearly 500 birds were reportedly killed after lights were left on at the electrical substation associated with the wind project. The deaths occurred due to collisions with the substation and apparent exhaustion as birds caught in the light's glare circled in mass confusion. The incident report of what happened can be accessed by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.
An agreement was reached among all parties involved in federal litigation under the Endangered Species Act concerning the Beech Ridge wind project in Greenbrier County, West Virginia, that will provide for additional protection of the endangered Indiana bat and other wildlife while allowing some elements of the project to move forward.
US Fish and Wildlife Service, Wet Virginia field office, issued these comments regarding the Pinnacle wind power project proposed for ridgelines in Mineral County, WV. The comments pertain to the Habitat Characterization and Assessment of Rare, Threatened, and Endangered Species for the Pinnacle Wind Farm (BHE Environmental 2009a); the Avian Risk Assessment for the Pinnacle Wind Power Project (Kerlinger 2009); and the Bat Risk Assessment: Pinnacle Wind Farm (BHE Environmental 2009b). Excerpts of the letter are provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking on the link at the bottom of the page.
Marty has been studying the life cycle of the timber rattlesnake for 25 years. He regularly visits several dens that have been in existence on the Allegheny Front for thousands of years -- to check on the emergence of snakes in the spring. Marty had been concerned about the possible disruption of the snake dens by the construction of the Ned-Power Industrial Wind Turbines, but he was assured that the dens, located in rock piles, with crevasses going into the earth, would not be disturbed. When Marty returned to his study site this Spring, this is what he found: "It is finished. There is nothing left to save.
Eleven citizen and environmental groups in West Virginia and Maryland have filed a 60-day notice about their intent to sue a wind power project. They say the huge turbines from the NedPower Mount Storm project would kill endangered bats and squirrels near the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area. The groups also will sue corporate owners Dominion Resources and Shell Wind Energy for violating the Endangered Species Act, according to Judy Rodd, director of Friends of Blackwater Canyon, based in Charleston. ...Landowners who live near the project also have filed a nuisance suit against NedPower citing concerns about their health and safety, as well as reductions in their property values.
When he received a reply from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service about its correspondence with Liberty Gap, the information included a Nov. 16, 2007 letter from the agency to Wendy Tidhar of WEST, Inc. based in Cheyene, Wyo. WEST apparently represents an unnamed wind energy developer exploring a site on federal national forest property that would affect Pendleton and Hardy counties in West Virginia, and a portion of Rockingham County in Virginia. What the USFWS told Tidhar, says Thomas, is promising for those who have for years stressed the need to protect the environment, birds and bats in particular, from a potential proliferation of wind turbine towers along the Appalachian Front. The USFWS West Virginia Field Office told Tidhar, "We recommend that you consider alternative locations for this wind power facility because the proposed site is a high risk site, and wind power operations at this location pose a reasonable likelihood of take of species protected by the Endangered Species Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty, and Eagle Act."
Washington, DC (HNN) -- U.S. Rep. Alan B. Mollohan, D-WV on Tuesday, May 1, 2007, testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Fisheries, Wildlife and Oceans Subcommittee on the impacts of wind turbines on birds and bats. Below is Mollohan's testimony:
WASHINGTON - An unusual coalition of conservationists and coal advocates told Congress on Tuesday that before the nation continues its rapid expansion of wind power, an assessment is needed of how many bats and birds are maimed and killed by wind turbines' blades. That study should be followed up with regulations to protect those species, witnesses told a House Natural Resources subcommittee.
This document includes studies in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia.
WV's Congressman Mollohan submitted a letter on July 26, 2006 to the WV Public Service Commission (PSC) concerning the Beech Ridge wind energy project proposed for Greenbrier County, WV by Chicago-based Invenergy, Inc. This wind energy developer successfully pushed through a windplant in Wisconsin nearby the Horicon Marsh - a globally-significant wildlife area and National Wildlife Refuge - despite the widespread outcry by national and local wildlife groups who opposed such close siting. Mollohan's letter points out that Invenergy disregarded recommendations by the US Fish and Wildlife Service for multi-year pre-construction studies regarding the project's potential impacts on migratory birds and bats. He also observed that although WV's one operating wind project in Tucker County has been the site of record-setting bat mortality due to collision with turbine blades, the project operator (FPL Energy) has cut off access to the site for scientific study or investigation, even by the National Research Council/National Academies committee charged by the U.S. Congress to study the environmental impacts of wind projects in the Mid-Atlantic Highlands (see footnote #2 in his letter).
Some industry officials speak out against three-year pre-construction monitoring period.
LEWISBURG — One environmental concern over the proposed 124-turbine wind farm slated for northern Greenbrier County is the number of birds and bats killed each year by the blades of the nearly 400-foot-tall structures, but whether bats can put a halt to the $300 million project remains to be seen.
The speakers were met with a bit of skepticism, however, as Commissioner Wayne Spiggle questioned them about their proposed relationship with existing industries and the possible environmental impact on winged creatures.
We are writing to request that the General Accounting Office undertake a study on the interim guidance issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concerning the development of wind turbine facilities ......