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Save The River Calls for a Halt on Wind Energy Development Due to Environmental Concerns

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Dogmudgeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-06-10 01:33 AM
Original message
Save The River Calls for a Halt on Wind Energy Development Due to Environmental Concerns
Man bites dog, Green style. I'd always read that the wind-turbine mortality rate for birds and bats was usually pretty low, but this appears to be a major flyway.

There is also action being taken on the Canadian side, in Ontario.

Save The River Calls for a Halt on Wind Energy Development Due to Environmental Concerns

Clayton, NY (August 4, 2010) Save The River is urging local municipalities bordering the Upper St. Lawrence River in the U.S. and Canada to implement a three year moratorium on wind project development. The move was taken after careful review of recent data showing potentially high avian and bat mortality from the first six months of operation of the Wolfe Island Wind project, the only operating wind project in the region.

Additionally, Save The River is calling for a cumulative assessment of bird and bat mortality and other environmental impacts for wind development in the Upper St. Lawrence River valley, coordinated by agencies in the US and Canada. The assessment should consider two regional scenarios, one for 500 wind turbines and the other for 1,000 wind turbines.

The initial high avian and bat mortality documented at the Wolfe Island Wind Project along with the lack of any cumulative impact assessment for wind projects proposed within the St. Lawrence valley, demand a wait and see response from decision makers in the communities that are now involved with examining environmental impact studies from wind developers, stated Save The River in a position paper detailing the rationale for the moratorium and cumulative assessment.

Several factors influenced the call for a moratorium on wind energy development in the region including:

The St. Lawrence River valley contains one of the most unique and substantial grassland habitats in eastern North America, which is home to specialized bird populations and provides critical foraging habitat for a variety of raptor species. This habitat is increasingly scarce due to development pressure and further threatened by wind energy development.

The Indiana Bat, a federally listed endangered species, has been identified as a resident in several communities slated for wind energy projects. The scientific community has expressed growing concern regarding the potential for bat kills and population declines given the rapid proliferation of wind power facilities and the large-scale mortality that has occurred at some facilities.

No agencies have begun to assess the cumulative impacts of the more than 6 projects proposed along the Upper St. Lawrence River and, as a result, little if anything is known about the cumulative impacts of these projects on the River ecosystem. Nor has any cross-border coordination with Canada occurred, resulting in a lack of information for agencies assessing project impacts.

Without a full picture of the impacts of wind energy development along the Upper St. Lawrence River, it is irresponsible to move forward with the wind projects currently in development at this time, stated Save The River Executive Director Jennifer Caddick. Communities along the St. Lawrence River have worked hard to protect the Rivers water quality and wildlife for many years. A precautionary approach is the only way to ensure that the St. Lawrence River ecosystem remains vibrant and healthy.

###

Read Save The Rivers full position statement.

For more information, contact Stephanie Weiss, Save The River Assistant Director at (315) 686-2010 or stephanie@savetheriver.org

Save The River - Upper St. Lawrence RIVERKEEPER


(Mods: This is a Press Release intended for reprinting in full with attribution --d)

--d!
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Dead_Parrot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-06-10 03:55 AM
Response to Original message
1. There's birds, and there's birds.
It's true that cats kill more birds than wind turbines. It's also true that cats kill more mammals than Sumatran rhinoceros poachers: This does not mean that Sumatran rhinoceros poachers aren't a problem, just that lumping an entire class of vertebrates together is sometimes less than useful. Look at the Smola eagles...
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txlibdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-06-10 01:07 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. I, too, love the pretty little birdies as much as the next guy
But focusing on wind turbines as a cause of bird death while totally ignoring other causes of bird fatalities such as toxic chemicals in the air and water, vehicle emissions, coal plant emissions, ecological damage caused by oil exploration, refining, distribution, and use is in my mind highly suspect. The study appears to be biased due to selective observation, a common logical fallacy.
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Dead_Parrot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-06-10 09:08 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Way to miss the point
Unless you know which birds are affected, it's impossible to call it one way or the other: A turbine killing a bald eagle per week is having a much bigger effect on biodiversity than one killing 100 rock pigeons per day.

For the case in point, here's a graphic of the Algonquin to Adirondacks Conservation Region:



Wolf Island is in the borders: Grindstone Island, a few miles east, is slap bang in the middle; Amherst Island, a few miles west, is outside it (although still an important grassland area). Indeed, given the size of Ontario I'd tentatively suggest there may be better location any of these islands.

Incidentally, "focusing on wind turbines as a cause of bird death while totally ignoring other causes" is a straw man, another common logical fallacy.
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txlibdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-07-10 08:20 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. You've shown me how to miss the point. Answered but not asked.
Thank you for showing me how to miss the point. I do not recall asking for instruction in this but your post is most effective in both providing zero backup for your position and totally misses the point of my comment to which you were ostensibly replying. Your post did nothing other than confirm that birds exist in the area of your included map. Congratulations on proving the already obvious.

Your incorrect assertion that focusing on one cause of bird death while ignoring all other man-made and climate factors is a straw man leads me to believe that you do not know the meaning of the term 'straw man.' Please look it up again.

Go to the link provided in the OP. You will see a beautiful photo of a river with homes right on the shore. As anyone knows who has ever looked into real estate prices with beach front, lake front and river frontage these houses are fantastically expensive. I submit that these homeowners simply do not want to look at a wind turbine farm. They want their view kept only for themselves and no person should derive any benefit from that area except the privileged few. Notice the similarities between this anti-wind power effort and that of the Kennedy's and other residents of that expensive area fighting to keep wind power away from their wealthy estates. As they provide zero facts on the number of birds found but simply call for a moratorium I find parallels here that are unmistakable. Finally, note that their group is not called 'Save the Birds and Bats' it is called 'Save the River.' That should tell you their true motivations. Attacking wind turbines is the real straw man in all of this. Researching further, I find that during the 6 month study they found that 7 birds were killed per wind turbine and a total of 602 birds were killed in the area of the wind farm. 602 sounds like a lot but we need to put that number in perspective. How much damage to bird populations are the other causes responsible for.

Focusing on one possible cause of bird and bat mortality and ignoring every other cause renders their argument baseless. How much damage to the bird population is caused by climate change, something that extensive implementation of wind power will help mitigate? Studies have shown that bird populations both in the Americas and in Europe and Africa are already suffering from the effects of climate change.

The farther birds journey in their migrations, the less likely they are to keep pace with the rapidly changing climate, new research suggests.

...snip...

Being slow to change in response to warming temperatures could have serious repercussions for long-distance migrant birds. This same research group has shown that plants are blooming earlier in Massachusetts than they did in the past. It appears that the short-distance migrants are keeping pace with this changing environment. However, long-distance migrants are being left behind; as temperatures continue to warm, they will probably experience environments increasingly different from the ones for which they are adapted. Other researchers have already noted that some long-distance migrant birds returning from African wintering areas to breed in Europe are now mistimed with their insect food supply. The inability of some birds to adapt to rapid climate change may be an important factor in some of the declines among songbird populations that have been documented in recent years.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/0806201159...


This clearly shows that climate change is a real danger to birds and the "Save our expensive view" folks are completely ignoring it. But aren't there other causes of bird death?

Utility transmission and distribution lines, the backbone of our electrical power system, are responsible for 130 to 174 million bird deaths a year in the U.S.1 Many of the affected birds are those with large wingspans, including raptors and waterfowl.

...snip...

Collisions with automobiles and trucks result in the deaths of between 60 and 80 million birds annually in the U.S.3

...snip...

Agricultural pesticides are "conservatively estimated" to directly kill 67 million birds per year.10

http://www.awea.org/faq/sagrillo/swbirds.html


So, when we get a little perspective on the issue we see that 602 birds killed in 6 months, or a little over 1200 a year pales to insignificance when compared to other causes of bird mortality, which amount to many millions of deaths per year.

Again, this group seems to be suspect. Their claim that 1200 bird deaths is a nightmare scenario while ignoring the fact that 130 million bird deaths are caused by transmission lines alone is very telling. Climate change affects us all. Your expensive private river front view does not help me or anyone but a select few. I vote to save the planet.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-07-10 11:19 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
Dogmudgeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-07-10 12:47 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. That's paranoid, defamatory, and incorrect
If someone chooses to focus on a subset of a DUer's posts to reinforce their pet conspiracy theory, that's THEIR problem.

And, it's understandable that they might want to add some spam to it to give their private kulturkampf extra authority. It's still incorrect and paranoid, but understandable.

Now let's get to the matter of the factuality of the OP. The Press Release and campaign are from a Riverkeeper group, stridently anti-nuclear to the point that it would please most of the antis here. The issue isn't that they oppose all wind development, just wind development in a particular environmentally-sensitive area. And it appears ironic or contradictory on the surface, which is why it pays to actually READ these things, instead of making adolescent wisecracks about the "Alter (sic) of Uranus".

--d!
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txlibdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-07-10 11:31 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. How do you view the group's specific objection to wind turbines in THIS area
You wrote: "The issue isn't that they oppose all wind development, just wind development in a particular environmentally-sensitive area."

I view that as more evidence of my theory that it's just a group of rich NIMBY jerks who don't want their precious views disturbed by the real world. Better to let the poor people deal with that I presume.

Is there something I'm missing?
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Dead_Parrot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-08-10 12:55 AM
Response to Reply #4
9. Sigh...
Yes, I know climate change does a lot more damage. If you take a few hours off to read some of the thousands of posts I've put on E/E of the last few years you'll understand that. Nor is bird strike a killer reason to be opposed to wind farms in general: The vast majority of them are in reasonably safe areas.

It's only when they get built in sensitive ares that it becomes a potential problem, and I really don't think checking the environmental impact should be a huge burden unless you're worried about what it might might uncover.

Charging ahead without considering the environment is what got us into this mess. I really don't see how charging ahead without considering the environment is going to get us out of it, do you?
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-07-10 02:54 PM
Response to Original message
7. I predicted that the Luddites would start opposing wind when it took off, i was right.
:banghead:
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