A reading of Green Mountain Power’s report on risks to raptors from their proposed Lowell project makes me wonder why no one in a position of authority is questioning the study’s negligent methodology or erroneous claims.
Vermont hawk-watchers know that the bulk of raptor migration happens along ridges in the fall and that migration lasts for weeks. It seems rather disingenuous, therefore, to conduct a 10-day raptor survey of the Lowell Range in April and May and submit the results as credible evidence, as GMP’s hired expert did. How is this acceptable?
To fill in the gaps, GMP’s expert pulled in Christmas Bird Count data and Breeding Bird Survey data. Using CBC and BBS data adds pages to the study but no substance. The expert also referenced Hawk Migration of North America data in ways HMANA itself cautions against.
I am dismayed at how irrelevant data and subjective interpretations are masquerading as science in GMP’s proposal. Scientifically based protocols for determining risks posed to raptors by industrial wind facilities have been established, and, it appears, are currently not being used in Vermont.
There are about 10 wind projects in some stage of planning or development around the state, most of them on forested ridges. Any errors calculating risk to migrating raptors has the potential to be magnified for years. It is important to get it right now, in the beginning.
The PSB must require the best possible data from petitioners. GMP has fallen short.
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