Earlier this month, the National Academy of Science put forward some compelling evidence that industrial wind power has some serious flaws. Also, recent U.S. Congress hearings brought forth several expert testimonies that warn of a potential environmental disaster (birds, bats, etc.) due to poor siting of turbines and lack of accountability. There are gaping holes in the protection of wildlife, birds and bats in particular, from poorly sited, constructed and monitored wind turbines in both the U.S. and Canada.
Last month, the Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society in New York acquired (through the Freedom of Information Act) a report of the first year study of bird and bat deaths at the wind facility in Lewis County, N.Y. This company-sponsored survey estimates the death toll to have been between 3,103 and 6,011 birds and bats in the first year of operations alone. It should be noted that the Canadian Wildlife Service, at the urging of Canadian Wind Energy Association, has made wind monitoring optional and has ensured that any monitoring information will never be shared with the public or scientific community. Why?
When bats and raptors hunt they are completely locked onto their prey which is why they are so badly impacted by wind turbines.
No effective mitigation efforts have succeeded to date.
Ontario is currently spending millions on pesticides to fight West Nile disease, yet knowingly killing off bats which are one of the most effective combatants against mosquitoes. Bats and raptors reproduce slowly so any impact to the population can have serious results.
Here in Ontario, the Port Alma project was recently approved. This site is located on a narrow bottleneck of only 30 kilometres between Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie where virtually every migrant in Ontario passes through.
There are currently four projects in the planning stages which will completely surround Holiday Beach. Holiday Beach represents the end of the funnel on most populous raptor migration corridor in the country. The entire Lake Erie shoreline is the finest aerial pathway in the northeastern part of the continent.
The Audubon Society states: “Raptor migration bottlenecks in the Northeast, should largely be avoided.” Are they avoided in Ontario?
To the contrary – that’s exactly where hundreds of industrial turbines are now planned on Category 4 sites, or those with the very highest environmental sensitivity. Due to political pressure, full environmental assessments have been deemed unnecessary by the MOE.
Any studies are proponent-driven and negative impacts are glossed over and minimized.
For our provincial and municipal governments to ignore these concerns and blindly support all wind projects is not just irresponsible, it borders on criminal. Some day they will be held accountable.
Essex County Wind Action Group
Published: Thursday, May 24, 2007
The Windsor Star
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