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Safety assurances needed before proceeding with windmills  

The Indian Riverkeeper has asked that the many concerns for the environment be addressed in the rush to install wind turbines.

People have for decades dismissed environmental concerns about projects in Florida with disastrous results.

Lighting regulations protecting sea turtles were not created with 200-foot-plus diameter blades on 300-foot towers in mind. On a moonlit night, they will reflect a lot of light. Geography will require proximity to the beach. The towers will have to be lit for airplanes. We must know if that will be safe for sea turtles or not.

Sound generated by many turbines is loudest at frequencies lower than human hearing. We simply don’t know whether it will disrupt trout spawn, manatee communication, whale song or other natural systems.

According to a 2006 Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission study, spotted sea trout landings on the Atlantic coast diminished from 1,392,573 pounds in 1982 to 622,868 pounds in 2005. We don’t know for certain that noise pollution from existing industry hasn’t already affected spawning.

Florida suffers greatly from the impacts of projects that seemed like a good idea at the time. Today, we are capable of modeling and analysis that should limit the number of projects that will require vast sums of money to undo.

Today, we would not connect Lake Okeechobee to the St. Lucie River. We would not straighten the Kissimmee. We now know better than to replace shoreline vegetation with sea walls, wetlands with subdivisions, and sea grass beds with muck.

Today, we probably wouldn’t place development on rapidly-eroding barrier islands.

We will spend billions to fix problems created because we didn’t know the consequences of projects. Climate change is a serious problem, but we can’t sacrifice the habitat we love in the name of conservation. We want proof of safety.

Kevin Stinnette

Indian Riverkeeper

Fort Pierce

TCPalm

16 January 2008

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

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