Library filed under Impact on Wildlife from West Virginia
Excerpts below are from the May 16, 2007 Proposed Order of WV PSC denying Liberty Gap's application for CPCN (siting permit) for 50 wind turbine project atop Jack Mtn in Pendleton County:
Appalachian states lack strong and detailed guidelines to regulate the continued growth of wind power facilities along the Mid-Atlantic highlands, according to a new study by the National Academy of Sciences. A team of academy experts concluded that wind power can help offset the greenhouse emissions caused by coal and other fossil-fuel energy sources, but the projected growth of wind power in West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania creates potential threats to bird and bat populations that are not fully understood, the academy study found. Windmill "farms" also can cause other environmental problems and create legitimate aesthetic concerns for local communities - ranging from damage to scenic vistas to noise and "shadow flicker," a strobe-like effect created by rotating turbines, the report found. "The United States is in the early stages of learning how to plan for and regulate wind-energy facilities," says the report, compiled by the National Academy's National Research Council. The report said the cumulative effects of continued growth in wind power are unclear, and that further study is needed.
Rep. Alan Mollohan is proving refreshingly thoughtful and farsighted on one of the emerging issues facing West Virginia - the pros and cons of wind power. He makes a persuasive case that the state should regulate its newest energy industry now. On Tuesday, the 1st District congressman told a congressional subcommittee he is very concerned about the impact wind farms could have on the wildlife and natural beauty of the state......Mollohan is right. It's time to slow this heavily subsidized stampede.
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.
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:
This document includes studies in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia.
After being twice urged to do so by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Liberty Gap LLC has volunteered to seek a permit for the incidental “take” of endangered species. In doing so, the company has asked the West Virginia Public Service Commission not to consider its proposed wind energy project’s impacts on other wildlife. But PSC staff has urged the commission to deny that request.
Details and a registration form are available at the link below for the Wildlife and Wind Energy Conference to be held on Saturday, December 2, 2006 at Kutztown University in Kutztown, PA USA.
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.
CUMBERLAND - Critics of the Nedpower wind farm project at Mount Storm in Grant County, W.Va., have alleged that the company is violating the federal Endangered Spe-cies Act as well as other environmental concerns. The company is the developer of a wind farm project that is expected to generate almost as much electricity as all the other wind farms in Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia combined.
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.
Thomas, W.Va. --- Towering up to 228 feet above the Appalachian Mountain ridge, windmills are lined up like marching aliens from "War of the Worlds." Up close, they emit a high-pitched electrical hum. From a distance of a few hundred yards, their 115-foot blades make a steady whooshing sound as their tips cut through the air at up to 140 mph.
"We need to anticipate all of the benefits as well as the consequences, and fashion policy on the front end," the 1st District Democrat said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.
More than 700 Greenbrier County residents have sent letters to the state Public Service Commission, opposing a plan to build one of the largest wind-power projects east of the Mississippi River. The residents say the wind turbines will spoil mountain views, decrease property values, kill bats and birds, hurt tourism and ruin hunting and fishing in the area. They predict the wind turbines will catch fire during lightning strikes. And they say the turbines will interfere with emergency radio communications.
Charleston, WV—Twenty citizen groups from around the country are supporting a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed against U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary, Gale Norton, by the Friends of Blackwater. The lawsuit charges that Norton has refused to turn over documents relating to wildlife deaths and injuries from wind turbines. “Department of Interior has not justified withholding these important documents,” said Judy Rodd, Executive Director of Friends of Blackwater.
"This is an action....to obtain access to records in possession of the Department of the Interior and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service ('FWS') concerning wildlife injuries and deaths caused by wind power facilities and FWS's enforcement of environmental laws with respect to wind power facilities." The district court ruled in favor of Friends of Blackwater. The ruling by Judge Huvelle can also be accessed from this page.
This letter from the West Virginia Field Office of the US Fish and Wildlife Service to NedPower Mount Storm responds to the developer's biological assessment for endangered bats at the proposed Mount Storm Windpower project site to be located in Grant County, West Virginia.