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U.S. Audubon Society Alarmed Over Raptor Turbine Kills

The National Audubon Society in the United States has begun a fund-raising campaign to help save the raptors being killed by wind power generation projects in the U.S. Here is a message from Audubon VP Government Relations, Michael Daulton.

The Wind Challenge

Properly-sited wind power is a critical part of America’s clean energy future, and an important part of our strategy for solving the threat of global warming. But wind turbines can be a real threat to eagles and other birds. The same windswept ridges raptors favor for soaring are also ideal places for electricity-generating wind farms. The tip of a giant turbine blade moves faster than 100 mph—much too fast for even an eagle eye to perceive. Thousands of hawks, eagles, and other migrating birds collide with wind turbines every year. The results are almost always fatal.

Audubon was among the first organizations to raise the alarm, and to work to find the right balance between the need for renewable energy and the need to protect amazing birds like the Swainson’s Hawk and the Golden Eagle. Bird-lovers like you have been actively engaged both on the ground and at the federal policy level to protect birds and keep eagles soaring.

  • Audubon experts played a key role on a 22-person federal advisory committee that spent three years developing the first-ever nationwide guidelines aimed at minimizing the threat of wind power to eagles and all other birds.
  • As you read this, an Audubon team in Washington D.C. is in active negotiations with the wind energy industry, the White House and key federal agencies to forge a permitting process directed solely at the conservation of eagles.

Meanwhile, Audubon members are leading the fight to oppose poorly-sited wind farms and to guide wind power away from vulnerable bird habitats. Local chapters, like Golden Gate Audubon in California, have won landmark victories for birds at places like Altamont Pass in central California and other sites where turbines put eagles and other raptors at risk. These are the real heroes of Audubon, who inspire me every day by making a real difference for birds like the Golden Eagle.
We object to the idea that wind power generation is the answer to the need for power in anything but an industrial application, but we applaud the recognition of the serious and probably irreversible harm to the natural environment.
For more information, go to the website at: http://www.audubon.org


From a post by  Wind Concerns Ontario Blog

Ostrander Point Appeal Fund

On December 20, 2012, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources approved nine wind turbines for Ostrander Point in Prince Edward County. The area has been described as “one of the worst possible places to construct a wind farm” (Ontario Nature). Successfully appealing the approval will save critical natural habitat from destruction and protect the endangered species, species at risk and rare ecosystems at Ostrander Point.

To learn more about Ostrander Point, click here

A project of Prince Edward County Field Naturalists

Endorsed by Nature Canada, Ontario Nature, Kingston Field Naturalists, Quinte Field Naturalists, the Audubon Society (New YorkState and United States) and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (United Kingdom)

blandings_turtle 

To donate to the Ostrander Point Appeal Fund click here

Letter to Environmental Commissioner of Ontario

Letter written by County resident and business owner Carlyn Moulton, addressed to the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, with copies to Dalton McGuinty, Jim Bradley (Minister of the Environment), Todd Smith and Peter Kent (federal Minister of the Environment.

December 22, 2012

Dear Commissioner,

It beggars belief that in the name of being “green”, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment has approved the destruction of the southeastern portion of Prince Edward County for a wind turbine project known as Ostrander Point. Virtually every environmental group in the country has made detailed submissions pointing out that this is the worst possible location that could be imagined. It is an Important Bird Area, a critical migratory flight path and breeding habitat for millions of birds, many endangered. It would qualify as an ANSI, or area of natural and scientific interest, because of its unique features.

Then to add insult to injury, in a cynical and grinch-like act that can only be seen as calculated and manipulative,  the announcement is made on December the 20th, allowing 15 days for the public to comment or appeal. If the current government had any interest in participatory democracy, it would have picked another date. As this is not the first time  that this has been done (as you yourself have pointed out), we have to assume that this wasn’t merely inept or absent-minded ignorance of the calendar and holiday season, but a willful thumbing of the nose to those that might wish to spend the holidays with their children as opposed to with their lawyers.

 The effects on the natural environment are not restricted to the Ostrander Point wind project and its nine turbines – wind projects are planned or proposed on many sites along the north shore of Lake Ontario at the eastern end. What is the cumulative effect of these projects? They can’t just be considered one by one.  The following table of projects and turbines lists those along the shore or in the water of eastern Lake Ontario.  Most would be located within or adjacent to Important Bird Areas. (In Prince Edward County four other projects, totalling 47 turbines, are also proposed and awaiting ECTs.)

              Wind Project                    Status  No. Of Turbines
Ostrander Point OPA Contract                9
White Pines OPA Contract         29-30
Amherst Island OPA Contract         30-35
Ernestown OPA contract             4-6
Wolfe Island Operating              86
Loyalist I and II Awaiting ECT              21
White Pines II Proposed              36
Dorland Proposed on Gilead website         20-40
Wolfe Island Shoals Subject to offshore moratorium       60-150
Trillium I and II Subject to offshore moratorium            282
Total of land-based Turbines      199-227
Total of all proposed Turbines        541-659

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s impossible to conclude that such numbers would not be an obstacle to migrating birds or a transformation of the natural environment.

Prince Edward County is also well known for organic vegetable farms, wineries and other farms. Wind turbines cause a shift in air pressure that collapse bat lungs and kills them. Bats eat insects. Insects eat fruit and vegetables. Without bats, insect populations increase significantly, and therefore, so does pesticide use. This is not rocket science. So why would we, in the name of the environment, allow for an industrial development that is surely to trigger a rise in pesticide use?

One can only imagine that there must be some sort of staggering electrical power shortage, plunging us all into the dark without this sort of destructive and permanently damaging project – which must surely save us all?

Except of course, we have a surplus of power. Ontario is a net exporter of power and has been for years. http://www.sygration.com/gendata/today.html  publishes our surplus on a daily basis. Today, as I write, we have a “capacity” of almost double our current need. And it is a surplus that far exceeds our current use of coal – so that is a red herring.

And if we needed more, Quebec seems to be awash in cheap, renewable, hydro power. Maybe they might sell us some for a fraction of the price that we will end up paying to Gilead Power while they destroy Ostrander Point.

It hardly seems that we have a crisis of such a magnitude that we are compelled to give up public lands that are magnificent, unique, and critical to sustaining the natural environment to a private company who will reap a handsome profit from its destruction, and reaping artificially high rates, guaranteed by our government (but paid for by the people) for years to come.  

This project is unnecessary, irresponsible, and against the interests of the public good and the environment.

The government’s stubborn pursuit of a wrong-headed policy, despite all evidence to the contrary, is damaging the very communities it is meant to protect and represent. 

If the government was serious about reducing carbon emissions, making sure a serious public transit system was implemented around the GTA or along the 401 would seem to me to be a much better investment. Most of Ontario’s emissions aren’t from energy generation, they are from transportation – as anyone who took a day to inform themselves would know.

Sincerely,

Carlyn Moulton

Open Letter to Jim Bradley, Minister of the Environment

The Ministry of Environment’s decision not to conduct an Individual Environmental Assessment of access roads at Ostrander Point, announced in your December 19, 2012 letter, is based on numerous errors in fact and judgment.   

Your letter states that between March and April 2011 you received 21 requests from members of the public.  In point of fact, the Honourable John Wilkinson, then Minister of Environment (MOE), received the requests.  In the last election Mr. Wilkinson was held accountable for his mishandling of the MOE portfolio.  

Only 17 of the 21 requests came from members of the public.  The other four requests were from organizations which collectively represent thousands of citizens.  Why does your letter diminish the significance of comments by the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County; the South Shore Conservancy; Friends of Arron Lake, Wind Concerns Ontario Grey Bruce; and the Prince Edward Field Naturalists, Ontario Nature and Nature Canada? 

All the requests point out the extensive impact of the access roads: 

  •  fragmentation of wildlife habitat by the loop design
  • destruction/loss of alvar and woodland habitat
  • disturbance of avian and terrestrial wildlife during wind turbine construction and during the next 25 years of operation due to increased on-site human activities
  • harm, harassment and killing of two threatened species, Whip-poor-will and Blanding’s Turtle, albeit authorized by a Ministry of Natural Resources permit
  • disturbance to raptors, especially protected Bald and Golden Eagles.

Since access roads are integral to the wind energy project, they cannot be separated in terms of effects.  Both roads and wind turbines are located on a major migration corridor used by millions of birds, bats and butterflies.  Both roads and wind turbines will destroy rare habitat that sustains migrating and resident wildlife, particularly 20 species of conservation concern, including Rusty Blackbird, Short-Eared Owl, Peregrine Falcon, Red-headed Woodpecker, and the Monarch Butterfly. 

Thousands of eagles, owls and other raptors have already perished in North America as a result of colliding with massive turbine towers and blades at poorly-sited wind projects.  The raptors and migratory birds that avoid wind turbines are also at risk as they disperse to inhospitable outlying areas without adequate food, water and shelter.  

Bats in the thousands are also dying, either from direct collision with turbine blades or as their lungs explode from rapid changes in air pressure when they get close to turbines.

In approving the Ostrander Point project the government of Ontario is contravening international treaties such as the Migratory Birds Act and the treaty to protect Monarch Butterflies.  National and international environmental societies, too numerous to mention, have all told the Ontario government that industrial wind turbines should not go into this Important Bird Area (IBA).  Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner has called for a halt to wind projects in all Ontario IBAs.  The Canadian Senate has called for a moratorium on industrial wind projects along the migratory route.

Mr. Bradley, anyone who had actually read the 21 requests for an Individual Environmental Assessment would be too embarrassed to say, as you did in your letter, that you are “satisfied” the Ostrander Point project has met “the purpose of the Environmental Assessment Act, the betterment of the people of the whole or part of Ontario, by providing for the protection, conservation and wise management of the environment.”  

Perhaps you are satisfied, Mr. Bradley, but the people of Ontario are not.   

Garth Manning,
Chair, County Coalition for Safe and Appropriate Green Energy

 

Vote Yes in Quinte Poll to Protect Wildlife

 As many of you will already know from news reports, Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner issued a statement yesterday that industrial wind turbines should not be installed in Important Bird Areas.   

The Environmental Commissioners’ statement is another major source of validation for our efforts to protect our globally-significant  IBA and migratory bird route.  The SSC Board will be meeting today to discuss a strategy to draw attention to the Prince Edward County South Shore IBA.   We will be requesting your help and participation tomorrow.  For now we would appreciate your participating in the Quinte News poll.  

Quinte News is conducting a poll on this question: “Do you agree with the Environmental Commissioner’s recommendation to not allow wind turbines in Protected Bird Areas?”

Please vote “Yes…. Wildlife is important and the birds should be protected” at  http://www.quintenews.com/category/polls/

Thank you for your support!

Birds and Bats Need More Protection from Wind Power

Toronto, October 2, 2012 – The Ontario government should put additional areas of the province off-limits to wind power projects to safeguard birds, bats and their habitats, says Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller, who released Part 2 of his 2011/2012 Annual Report, Losing Our Touch, today.

“I fully support wind power. Together with energy conservation, renewable sources of energy such as wind are necessary to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and protect the environment,” says Miller.  “However, the use of wind power must be balanced by the equally important goal of protecting birds and bats. To accomplish that goal, we need to be smarter about where we place wind power facilities.”

The government has released guidelines for evaluating and reducing harmful effects on birds, bats and their habitats during the planning, construction and operation of wind power projects. The Environmental Commissioner praises the government for giving special attention to birds and bats as wind power development increases in the province, but notes “there are some significant shortcomings in the guidelines that continue to put birds and bats at risk.”

  • Lack of protection for migratory bat species: Approximately 75 per cent of documented bat fatalities at wind turbines in North America are migratory bats, yet the provincial guidelines lack any criteria for identifying and avoiding bat migratory stopover areas during the selection of wind power sites.  Three out of the eight species of Ontario’s bats are migratory.
  • Development in Important Bird Areas not prohibited: Important Bird Areas are designated, using internationally accepted standards, as key areas supporting specific groups of birds. There are no special rules to prevent wind power development in Ontario’s 70 Important Bird Areas.
  • No consideration of cumulative effects: Wind power project sites are evaluated and approved on an individual basis, with no regard for the potential cumulative effects on birds or bats from other nearby wind power facilities or other potential sources of bird and bat mortality.

Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner says “I am concerned that the current guidelines do not go far enough to ensure that wind power development is compatible with Ontarians’ objective of protecting wildlife. Given the importance of selecting sites that minimize the harm to birds and bats, it just makes sense to avoid building wind energy projects in these species’ most ecologically sensitive locations.”

“The Ministry of Natural Resources should rectify these shortcomings,” says Miller “and prohibit new wind power development within Ontario’s Important Bird Areas.”  Important Bird Areas, such as Point Pelee and the Leslie St. Spit, cover only about two per cent of Ontario in total.

200,000 Bats Killed Annually by German Wind Turbines

Posted on
July  3, 2012 in Science Daily
 

Research suggests German Wind Turbines Kill Bats Near and Far

Previous studies have already highlighted that more than 200,000 bats are killed each year by German wind turbines. Researchers are convinced that such high mortality rates may not be sustainable. The large-scale development of wind farms throughout Germany may have negative consequences for even remote ecosystems in northeastern Europe.
 
Industrial Wind Turbines Affect Distant Ecosystems

Wind turbines may have large-scale negative effects on distant ecosystems. Results of research by the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) demonstrate that bats killed at German wind turbines originate mostly from northeastern Europe.

The study investigated the provenance of those four bat species which are most frequently killed by German wind turbines. Bats are of particular interest because they have a vital and important service function for ecosystems in regulating population densities of pest insects, and because many species migrate during spring and autumn across Europe between their breeding and wintering ranges.

Read more:  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120702133529.htm