On Monday night, the Hamlin town board voted to extend a moratorium on wind development until June, unless leaders adopt a wind turbine law sooner.
Some animal advocates say the town is a migration stop and wind turbines could have deadly consequences for birds and bats.
Over the 28 years, Kathy Habgood has lived within a mile of Lake Ontario, she’s fed and photographed her wild visitors.
“Geese, swans, I’ve seen of course, probably 100 of the turkey buzzards that had landed at our neighbor’s house next door,” she said.
Habgood and others fear if Hamlin’s wind test towers are replaced by turbines, migrating birds like hawks and owls, as well as bats will fly into the rotating blades. Braddock Bay, a haven for migratory birds in the spring and fall, is just down the shore.
So, the Genesee Valley Audubon Society and other environmental advocates wrote letters to Hamlin leaders, urging them to avoid putting towers within five miles of the south shore of Lake Ontario.
June Summers, president of the GVAS, said, “We don’t know how much, how many birds are killed. There’s a quote of two birds per wind tower, per year right now.”
However, not everyone agrees that the town location is in the migratory path.
Hamlin Town Supervisor Denny Roach (R), said, “It hasn’t been proven that Hamlin is a migratory path. It is designated by Audubon, New York as an important bird area.”
However, according to a lawyer who’s drawing up a turbine law proposal for Hamlin, concerns about the migrating birds are being heard. He said the law would require environmental studies before the turbines are built.
Town leaders are requesting extra provisions in Hamlin’s upcoming wind turbine law that would require environmental experts conducting pre- and post- studies to follow protocols endorsed by the Audubon Society, New York state, and the US Department of the Interior.
“I think that might reinforce the fact that we are sensitive to the bird issue,” Roach said.
Though it’s a compromise, it’s hard to say if Hamlin’s nature lovers will be satisfied, until they see where the turbines will be built, if they’ll be built, and what happens to the birds.
Hamlin’s turbine law may be ready by February or March. Then it’s up to wind developers, to step forward.
By Kathy Kriz
15 January 2008
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