Resource Documents: West Virginia (26 items)
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Author: Pylant, Cortney; et al.
An unanticipated impact of wind-energy development has been large-scale mortality of insectivorous bats. In eastern North America, where mortality rates are among the highest in the world, the hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus) and the eastern red bat (L. borealis) comprise the majority of turbine-associated bat mortality. Both species are migratory tree bats with widespread distributions; however, little is known regarding the geographic origins of bats killed at wind-energy facilities or the diversity and population structure of affected species. We addressed these unknowns by measuring stable hydrogen isotope ratios (δ²H) and conducting population genetic analyses of bats killed at wind-energy facilities in the central Appalachian Mountains (USA) to determine the summering origins, effective size, structure, and temporal stability of populations. Our results indicate that ~1% of hoary bat mortalities and ~57% of red bat mortalities derive from non-local sources, with no relationship between the proportion of non-local bats and sex, location of mortality, or month of mortality. Additionally, our data indicate that hoary bats in our sample consist of an unstructured population with a small effective size (Ne) and either a stable or declining history. Red bats also showed no evidence of population genetic structure, but in contrast to hoary bats, the diversity contained in our red bat samples is consistent with a much larger Ne, that reflects a demographic expansion after a bottleneck. These results suggest that the impacts of mortality associated with intensive wind-energy development may affect bat species dissimilarly, with red bats potentially better able to absorb sustained mortality than hoary bats because of their larger Ne. Our results provide important baseline data and also illustrate the utility of stable isotopes and population genetics for monitoring bat populations affected by wind-energy development.
Cortney L. Pylant, David M. Nelson, Matthew C. Fitzpatrick, J. Edward Gates, and Stephen R. Keller
University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Appalachian Laboratory, Frostburg, MD; Department of Biology, Frostburg State University, Frostburg, MD; and Department of Plant Biology, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT
Ecological Applications, Volume 26, Issue 5, July 2016, Pages 1381–1395
Download original document: “Geographic origins and population genetics of bats killed at wind-energy facilities”
Author: Webb, Rick; Conservation Law Center; Animal Welfare Institute; and American Bird Conservancy
These comments concern the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and the Draft Habitat Conservation Plan (DHCP) for the Beech Ridge Wind Energy Project (BRE) in Greenbrier and Nicholas Counties, West Virginia. I am submitting these comments due to concern about the environmental impacts of utility-scale wind energy development in the central Appalachian mountain region.
Because of flaws and insufficiencies in the information and analysis provided in both the DHCP and the DEIS, I recommend that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) adopt Alternative 1, the “No Action” alternative presented in the DEIS. The specific reasons for this recommendation follow.
(1) Failure to evaluate project benefits.
(2) Failure to account for the effects of White Nose Syndrome.
(3) Uncertainty associated with estimates of mortality and population impacts.
(4) The need for a more-objective and quantitative analysis of cumulative impacts.
Conservation Law Center:
Comment 1. The DHCP’s proposed operational measures do not satisfy the “minimize to the maximum extent practicable” permit issuance criterion of the ESA or the DHCP’s goal of avoiding and minimizing potential take.
Comment 2.1. The alternatives studied in the DEIS do not constitute a reasonable range of alternatives.
Comment 2.2. Of the three action alternatives presented in the DEIS, alternative 3 should be the Agency’s preferred environmental alternative.
Comment 2.3. The DHCP omits cut-in speed alternatives in its discussion of alternative actions to the proposed takings.
Comment 3. The DHCP does not fully address ESA section 7 criteria.
Comment 4.1. The DHCP does not adequately describe how federal listing of species will be treated as a changed circumstance.
Comment 4.2. The DEIS and DHCP do not adequately explain how the changed circumstance of white-nose syndrome will affect BRE’s responsibilities under the terms of its ITP/HCP.
Comment 5. The DEIS does not, but should, take a hard look at the biological implications of cumulative impacts by using a Leslie Matrix model.
Comment 6. The proposed biological goals improperly include the proposed conservation plan.
Author: Terry, John
Laurel Mountain Wind Project (Northwest of Elkins, WV)
Photos by John Terry, March 29, 2011
Earth disturbance and habitat fragmentation by AES Corporation (ongoing)
By courtesy of Virginia Wind – click each image for full size
Aesthetics, Environment, Health, Law, Maryland, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Wildlife •
Author: Spiggle, Wayne
Dear Senator Rockefeller,
Please accept my personal warm greetings. We have visited on several occasions, particularly on health care. You may remember me as a physician who yearns for an improved Medicare for All, as embodied in (H.R. 676).
I’ve just read with interest the email response you are making to people actively concerned about your policies on “renewable” energy and I’d like to make the following comments about industrial wind. Personally, I favor subsidies that go to small hydropower development and research on burning coal more cleanly and think they should be increased.
But, on industrial wind:
- Thank you for your steady objection to (H.R. 2454). The Cap and Trade policy has not worked in Europe and will not work in the U.S. Purchasing a permit to pollute and passing the cost to the public just does not make sense.
- Your support of (S. 1462), (S. 3813) and (S. 433) appears to be stated in the affirmative when you say that, in the past, you have supported renewable energy standards and have been the major driving force behind the construction of new wind turbines across the country. This is where I plead for you to re-examine your policy. Please, please educate yourself about the unintended consequences of the proliferation of wind turbines, particularly along Appalachian ridge tops. If you do, you will find:
- The inefficiency of the turbines related to wind fluctuations will require far more land disruption than does strip mining for coal. First reported by the Nature Conservancy and subsequently documented elsewhere, even by Senator Lamar Alexander you will find it very apparent that if you pass laws that mandate even 15% of electricity be from sources like industrial wind you will be sentencing the majority of our celebrated West Virginia Hills to be pock marked with giant turbines and thousands of miles of new transmission lines to serve them. Tragically, this physical and ecologic transformation of West Virginia’s trademark landscape will have no significant amelioration of green house gasses because of the required co-generation of base load stand by.
- The federal and state tax subsidies for industrial wind (and solar) are far out of balance for other energy sources, 15 times more. Industrial wind must receive this largess to get started AND to keep going. Explain to me how it is good public policy to provide such a favoritism to an industry that cannot contribute to the global warming problem in a significant way?
- Imposing renewable standards will drive up electricity costs very significantly. That means the cost of this new energy policy will be disproportionally borne by the middle class and the poor. I feel very confident that is not your intent and will be very sad if it becomes your legacy.
Senator, I belong to The Allegheny Highlands Alliance (AHA), a relatively new grass roots organization with representation in WV, MD, PA, VA, and SC. Our mission is to, in an intellectually honest, scientifically based way; educate the public about the realities of industrial wind and the pending legislation that would further codify its undeserved position. There are several other issues, including impact on migrating song birds and raptors, destruction of habitat for rare terrestrials (both concerns of the USFWS and the WVDNR), negative health impacts from constant low frequency noise inflicted on people living close to an industrial wind facility, water resource disruption, to site a few.
We believe there is a better way to promote alternative energy than to dictate a percentage standard and then to sit back to see what happens. That is getting the cart before the horse. Once again, I implore you, with the assistance of staff to open your mind and investigate the above observations. AHA has extensive expertise on this subject and, if invited, we would appreciate the honor to meet with you for a briefing.
Wayne C. Spiggle, MD
Allegheny Treasures notes:
Dr. Wayne Spiggle is well known in West Virginia and Maryland as an effective social justice advocate and environmental leader. As a former president of MedChi, the Maryland Medical Society, he pressed for universal health care and he is still involved in that fight. As a Mineral County commissioner, he has promoted quality of life issues and emphasized the importance of developing a welcoming environment to encourage jobs and business development. For his public health initiatives he was recently recognized by the West Virginia State Medical Society with their prestigious Excellence in Medicine Award.
Spiggle has studied industrial wind with the critical eye of a scientist. He has concluded that industrial wind is poor public policy because it requires base load back up from fossil fuel, cannot reduce green house gases, receives public subsidies some 15 times more than other energy sources, is destined to raise electricity bills for homes and businesses and is handicapped by very significant environmental issues sufficient to bring about a transformation of Appalachian ridge tops of geologic proportions while having a disastrous mortality on migrating song birds, raptors and resident bats.
A member of the Allegheny Highlands Alliance (AHA), he has joined their mission to inform the public about industrial wind by adhering to the principals on intellectual honesty and scientific based knowledge.
The Allegheny Highlands Alliance (AHA) is a consortium of citizen/environment organizations with membership in five states along the Allegheny Front. The AHA is in the process of discovering the facts about industrial wind, its potential to reduce green house gases, its economics and the impact of industrial wind energy project installations on the ecology and human health.
The purposes of AHA shall include but not be limited to the following:
- To advance public knowledge and understanding of the cultural, biological, environmental diversity, uniqueness, and sensitivity of the major ridgelines that comprise the Allegheny Highlands;
- To preserve and protect areas of particular scenic, geologic, biologic, historic, wilderness, and/or recreational importance in the Allegheny Highlands;
- To aid in the establishment of responsible policies to protect scientific, educational or aesthetic values;
- To conduct regional and resource studies as a basis for the wise use of the various resources of the Allegheny Highlands; to develop programs in energy conservation and wise production; and to serve local communities, the region, the people of the Allegheny Highlands as an agency for popular enlightenment, for cultural improvement, and for scientific advancement;
- To advocate governmental policies for the conservation and wise management of energy and natural resources of the Allegheny Highlands.
AHA Contact Larry Thomas, President, at firstname.lastname@example.org