ERIE TOWNSHIP – A controversial wind turbine project slated for installation at Camp Perry has been halted due to environmental concerns.
After the American Bird Conservancy and the Black Swamp Bird Observatory, two not-for-profit conservation organizations, threatened to sue the Air National Guard this month, they were notified Tuesday that plans to move forward with the project were canceled.
BSBO and ABC officials received confirmation of the plans in a letter from Air National Guard headquarters in Andrew, Md.
The two groups had opposed the installation, which they claimed would have endangered a number of birds, including bald eagles, piping polvers and Kirtland’s warblers, among others.
The letter, from Col. Peter A. Sartori, director, Installations and Missions Support, indicates the ANG has withdrawn its finding that the project has no significant impact on wildlife.
Since that finding has been withdrawn, Sartori wrote, “the project will not go forward at this time.”
“We are absolutely elated that the Air National Guard has halted this project, at least temporarily and possibly for good,” stated Kimberly Kaufman, executive director of BSBO. “We certainly owe thanks to the thousands who voiced their opposition to the project via the petition.”
The letter of intent to sue was accompanied by a petition with more than 5,000 signatures.
In it, BSBO and ABC contend the wind turbine would violate the Endangered Species Act and other federal wildlife laws.
“This is a big win for the vast numbers of birds that migrate through the Camp Perry area, which have been using these routes and stopover habitats for centuries,” stated Kenn Kaufman, noted author and birdwatching expert. “It’s also a win for the local economy and for the businesses that rely on tourism dollars from the tens of thousands of visiting birders. Let’s hope that the suspension is a permanent one.”
Previously, scientists with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources voiced their opposition to the plans.
The area surrounding Camp Perry is an area that hosts one of the highest concentrations of migratory birds in North America, according the BSBO research.
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