West Virginia Highlands Conservancy not so sure a nationwide environmental impact assessment such a good idea
There is no doubt that a nationwide environmental impact assessment of the impact of industrial wind farms on wildlife would give us information we do not have now. At a bare minimum, it would pull together the already published research and information on the topic. The West Virginia Highlands Conservancy agrees with the major premise of the letter: importance of siting and has begun an initiative on that issue. (The Highlands Voice, February, 2014, p. 1).
In spite of general agreement with the need for better information and the importance of siting, the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy did not seek to join in with the American Bird Conservancy and the seventy one other groups that have asked for a nationwide environmental assessment.
A nationwide study would, by definition, be nationwide. By necessity, it would be general. Possible sites for wind development are so widespread and so varied that a general study could not address each local issue.
A nationwide study has the potential to pre-empt any efforts for a study of local sites and the addressing of local issues when the time comes. There would be an assumption that the environmental impact of any project had already been considered as part of the nationwide study. This leaves local impacts—those too site specific to have been part of any national study—unstudied.
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