[ exact phrase in "" • ~10 sec • results by date ]

[ Google-powered • results by relevance ]


LOCATION/TYPE

News Home
Archive
RSS

Subscribe to RSS feed

Add NWW headlines to your site (click here)

Sign up for daily updates

Keep Wind Watch online and independent!

Donate $10

Donate $5

Selected Documents

All Documents

Research Links

Alerts

Press Releases

FAQs

Publications & Products

Photos & Graphics

Videos

Allied Groups

Wildlife specialists suggest ways to improve agreement  

Two bird specialists familiar with the Pennsylvania Game Commission efforts to protect wildlife from wind turbines offered cautious support, although each found things they didn’t like. A bat specialist was more critical.

Keith Bildstein, director of conservation science at the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Berks County, likes the draft agreement that would establish rules wind-energy developers would voluntarily follow. But he would prefer that the Game Commission impose an immediate moratorium on wind farms being built on high-risk sites, meaning places where wind turbines would be most dangerous to birds and bats.

“We need to begin development of wind power at low-risk areas,” Bildstein said.

“Do pre-construction and post-construction monitoring. Find the problems.”

He said building at intermediate-risk sites shouldn’t be allowed until post-construction monitoring is done at low-risk sites.

Surprisingly little is known about the big picture of bird migration through Pennsylvania, and most of the existing knowledge has to do with birds of prey, Bildstein said. He praised the commission for devoting research dollars to studying the migration of golden eagles.

“There will be first-class individuals involved,” he said. “We should learn a lot and avoid an environmental train wreck.”

Scott Weidensaul has written several books on birds and is active in state bird organizations such as Pennsylvania Audubon. He saluted the Game Commission for taking on “this difficult and contentious” issue.

“I think the draft guidelines are a good first step, since they bring the question of wildlife impacts to the table statewide in a way that’s not been considered before,” he said.

Weidensaul said the guidelines appear to be on the right track when it comes to migratory raptors and bats, but the lack of any requirement for pre-construction nocturnal songbird migration monitoring is disappointing. He said pre-construction monitoring ought to be a true site suitability study and not solely an information-gathering exercise.

“To me, the real question will be what happens if wind developers refused to sign on to the voluntary agreement, which unfortunately appears likely in at least some cases,” he said. “The commission has suggested it would then take legal action if there are bird or bat kills, and I’ll be very interested to see if they are able to follow up on that threat.”

William A. Capouillez, director of the Bureau of Wildlife Habitat Management, said the Game Commission plans to announce publicly which wind-energy developers sign agreements.

Michael R. Gannon, a professor of biology and bat specialist on the faculty of Penn State University’s Altoona campus, said there does not appear to be a requirement that the bat surveys be impartial. He worries that developers will hire hack consultants who can be counted on to turn in favorable results.

“As I have seen in other sites in Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, developers hire the same individuals again and again who submit virtually the same documents on how wind development at any of the areas in question will not have any effect on bat populations,” Gannon said.

By David DeKok
Of The Patriot-News

pennlive.com

28 February 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding
Donate $5 PayPal Donate

Share:


News Watch Home

Get the Facts Follow Wind Watch on Twitter

Wind Watch on Facebook

Share

CONTACT DONATE PRIVACY ABOUT SEARCH
© National Wind Watch, Inc.
Use of copyrighted material adheres to Fair Use.
"Wind Watch" is a registered trademark.
Share

Wind Watch on Facebook

Follow Wind Watch on Twitter