October 15, 2014
Letters, U.S.

Regulations for windmills could prevent bat deaths

Washington Post | October 14, 2014 | www.washingtonpost.com

Regarding the Oct. 13 news article “A deadly one-two punch for bats: Windmills and disease”:

It is especially important that we minimize all human causes of bat mortality if these incredibly beneficial creatures are to stand a chance of survival. Commercial wind turbines cause an estimated 900,000 bat deaths per year, making wind turbines the second-biggest killer of bats, after white-nose syndrome. Nearly all turbine deaths are avoidable.

Recent studies showed that up to 93 percent of bat deaths could be prevented if wind turbine operators changed the wind speed at which the blades start moving. More than 800,000 bats could be saved with a minuscule drop in electrical energy production. Despite the strong recommendation from some U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff that this solution be regulatory, the agency instead offered it as a voluntary suggestion. Not surprisingly, very few wind companies have implemented this solution.

Bats eat insects that otherwise would destroy crops and that carry diseases that affect humans. Without bats, farmers would have to use more pesticides, resulting in higher food prices and more damage to our soil and water.

Requiring the industry to implement an easy solution to reduce bat deaths, benefiting crop production and consumers, isn’t unreasonable.

Albert M. Manville II, Falls Church

The writer is a retired wildlife biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2014/10/15/regulations-for-windmills-could-prevent-bat-deaths/