An environmental impact statement or EIS has been ordered by the United States Army Corps of Engineers to assess the potential impact of a massive wind turbine industrial complex proposed by Baryonyx Corporation just offshore from South Padre Island in 41,000 acres of Gulf of Mexico waters leased from the state of Texas.
Thus far, no offshore wind farms have been built in the United States and many citizens believe that offshore from South Padre is the worst place in the country to erect hundreds of huge turbines fearing they will kill birds and cause extensive damage to the marine environment.
According to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, poorly sited wind turbines kill approximately 440,000 birds each year, and this is undoubtedly a gross underestimate as the industry is largely self-regulated. Recent radar studies of bird migration along the lower Texas coast reveals it to be perhaps the most important migratory corridor in the world, and many of these birds fly directly across the Gulf of Mexico.
In addition to threatening the 300 million dollar a year nature tourism industry in the Rio Grande Valley, the proposed offshore turbines also have recreational fishermen and shrimp boat owners alarmed.
Walt Kittelberger, the president of the Lower Laguna Madre Foundation said, “Offshore it will have up to 25 square miles of area, and what is important for all the fishermen, whether they are commercial fishermen, shrimpers or just people who like to go out on their boats is that these things create what are called exclusion zones, where you cannot travel thru them.”
Carlton Reyes, the president of the Brownsville Port Isabel Shrimp Producers Association said, “Our concerns have to do with hazards to navigation and the potential loss of fishing area.”
If you would like to attend a public hearing and voice your concerns or support for the proposed offshore wind turbine project a meeting is set for Wednesday March 28th beginning at 6 pm at the Holiday Inn on North Expressway in Brownsville.
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