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At Montana’s Biggest Wind Farm, Bat Deaths Surprise Researchers
A Judith Gap turbine. Photo by Bill Oram.

At Montana’s Biggest Wind Farm, Bat Deaths Surprise Researchers

As wind power gears up in Montana, the effects of large-scale wind projects on wildlife remain a concern: Birds may be in the clear, but bats are running into trouble.

Turbine-related fatalities at Judith Gap Wind Energy Center near Harlowton were 1,206 bats and 406 birds, according to a 2007 preliminary study (opens PDF) prepared by TRC Solutions’ Laramie, Wyo. office.

Roger Schoumacher, a biologist and consultant for TRC, said the bat fatality count is higher than what generally occurs in the West.

For more than a year, TRC has been preparing the first post-construction avian and bat fatality monitoring and grassland bird displacement surveys — at a cost of more than $200,000 — for Judith Gap Energy, LLC, which is owned by Chicago-based Invenergy. The wind farm is the largest in Montana, spanning 14,300 acres of public land in Wheatland County.

Now, Invenergy has decided to go ahead with another year of study, said Judith Gap operations manager John Bacon, to get a “better feel” for the reasons behind the high bat mortality rate.

“The bats were a surprise for us,” he said.

Janet Ellis, a wind policy specialist with the Montana Audubon in Helena, said the bats found at Judith Gap were all forest bats from Alberta, Canada, coming through in August and September during fall migration.

“It wasn’t expected at all,” she said. “But we know so little about bats.”

According to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Biologist Allison Begley, many bird groups advocate for better-sited wind farms in order to lessen the impact on wildlife.

“Nobody’s opposed to green energy,” said Begley, who sits on the technical advisory committee for Judith Gap. “As far as wind energy and bird interactions, it seems that, using some preconstruction surveys, a well-sited wind farm has much fewer impacts on birds.”

In the late ’80s, thousands of dead birds were collected at Altamont Pass and Solano County Wind Resource Areas near Livermore, Calif. The farm’s 7,000 turbines make up the largest wind farm in North America, and unfortunately for birds, the most dangerous. The death count sparked cries from the National Audubon Society and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and inspired a slew of follow-up studies on large-scale wind developments across the U.S., which has led to better turbine designs — employed at Judith Gap — to mitigate the effects on birds.

Paul Williamson, director of hydrogen and alternative energy research and development at the University of Montana, said the reason for so many bird kills in California had partly to do with siting and turbine construction.

“When the wind turbines were first starting to be put in, California leaders didn’t know a couple things. They put some turbines in the flyways,” he said. “They didn’t know at what height to put wind turbines — some birds fly at one height and others [at] another.” And so birds were sliced and diced while attempting to pass through the rotor planes or when landing on top of the towers.

At ten to 20 rpm, the three propellers of the 90-some turbines at Judith Gap rotate slower than the original towers constructed for the California farm, and they do not consist of the lattice construction that can be less bird-friendly.

Bacon said at this point, the bird death count itself is not significant enough to hinder growth at Judith Gap, but if the results of the extended survey indicate an extremely large impact on bats, the cut-in speed of the turbines might have to be set higher.

“Turbines start at 6 mph. There’s been some work done where they know when bats are flying through the area, they’re flying through in lower winds,” he said. “If the winds are higher, they don’t fly. So what we could do is change our cut-in speed to 10 mph.”

Audubon would like the Montana Department of Environmental Quality to work with stakeholders to ensure new wind projects minimize impacts on wildlife.

“In general, in Montana wind farms are going to have more of a habitat fragmentation,” Ellis said. “The bat issue raises some concerns about the impacts of wind turbines on bats in specific areas.”

One of the positive things about the Judith Gap wind farm, she added, is that it doesn’t have a vast amount of water, which means no shore birds and fewer waterfowl frequenting the area.

“[Wind farms] all kill some birds,” Ellis said, “What we’re trying to do is figure out a way to make them have the least impact.” One way to do this, she said, is by coming up with criteria companies can follow.

“Hopefully the Judith Gap stuff is going to come out, and hopefully it’s still going to be a good site,” she said. “It’s the best site you could find in a place like Montana.”

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Comments

  1. bear bait says:

    Green energy gets a pass on wildlife deaths. Great news!! Frigging hypocrites. If a farmer killed a thousand or more bats a year, the Fund for Animals would be beating on his doorstep with wall to wall lawyers. PETA would be boycotting his crops. All the BigGreen NGOs would be after him. Hell, go to town and kill a thousand cats. You would find yourself on the evening news around the world. But since it is Green Energy, “good” energy, all is forgiven. Each bat eats a bazillion bugs a years. No wonder the Alberta forests are falling to bugs by the thousands of acres a day. Clean energy is killing the bug controls.

    The birds are noted, but not by species. That always makes me suspicious from the git-go. Do the turbines kill endangered birds? Threatened birds? or just starlings?

    The insane rush to “green” energy by the left, with all the tax breaks and government loans, pushed by incomplete science, will have bad result after bad result. When you quit raising food and start raising crops for energy, the end is coming. Drill offshore, and save the bats. Drill in ANWR, and save the birds.

  2. JayEm says:

    “And so birds were sliced and diced . . . .” Hateful wording.

  3. Inky says:

    Bearbait — bats eat flying insects, NOT creepy, crawly pine beetles. But don’t let accurate biological understanding stop a perfectly good rant.

  4. bear bait says:

    Inky: So when you crawl out on an insult limb, do you HAVE to saw it off behind you? Name the date beetles quit flying.

  5. DON MCNAUGHTON says:

    HOW MANY BIRDS ARE KILLED EACH YEAR BY CARS?

  6. bear bait says:

    We need wind power. We need energy just to keep our illegal aliens and newborn babies warm and fed. We do have to increase energy while not destroying the environment.

    So why not mitigate wind turbines by domestic cat bounties. Get rid of x number of cats, and one more wind turbine can be built. Cats are killing more than a billion, MORE THAN A BILLION, birds in North America each year—EACH YEAR!! A BILLION PER YEAR!!!

    So tie the two together. Have an acceptable cap on allowed bird deaths. And keep below the cap by reducing feline predation to next to nothing, at the same time keeping wind turbines turned off during bird migrations. Dams have to be regulated as to operations to save salmon, and turbines can be regulated to disallow bird and bat deaths.

    Some astute scientist studied cats and says many live on rodents. They also kill snakes which also eat rodents. Cats are killers of anything smaller that moves, has a heartbeat. Bats are also killed by cats. And, they are an introduced exotic animal on this landscape. Keep wind power and get rid of out of doors cats.

    So I now have shot my mouth about cats, and guess what? The defenders of cats will the very same people who don’t want turbines killing birds. OK for their cats, not OK for turbines, or farmers, loggers, high rise buildings, cell towers, radio transmission towers, the list is long. It should be addressed, because birds being killed by green energy while logging is disallowed is insane public policy. The windmills kill birds, and forest fires in tree choked forests kill the forests, and the bird habitat. How long can birds survive this one-two punch we continue to throw at them? The cats are the third strike.

  7. Barbara Durkin says:

    Cape Wind isn’t economically viable on paper running 12 months per year. Shut downs during migratory season and other mitigation measures tried to date have not reduced avian mortalities at the Altamont Pass.

    Do you contend that we have not done enough to rid ourselves entirely of birds and cats? Are you aware that the DOI/USFWS has interim wind turbine siting guidelines that state that areas where endangered species are present should be avoided when siting wind turbines. Do you think that they belong everywhere? If so, the AWEA has been successful in their PR efforts.

    To: Chris M. Bazar

    Community Development Director

    Alameda County:

    “Increasingly, the operators of wind farms are recognizing that siting is a critically important factor in the construction of new facilities, with some sites causing less environmental damage than others. The local, national and international concerns about the operations at Altamont attest to the reality that Altamont is not an appropriate site for wind farms.”

    “We agree with those spokespeople of the industry who point out that many more birds are killed by collisions with windows, wires and towering structures including skyscrapers. Domestic and feral cats take an unacceptable number of birds and other wildlife. But golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, burrowing owls, and other species of particular concern are killed in disproportionate numbers at Altamont.”

    “Citizens of Alameda County place an increasing value on wildlife. This value must now be a component of longer-term planning. Wind farms will provide energy but will kill birds and bats; they must therefore be located, at least in the future, in areas where damage is minimal.”

    Peter H. Bloom
    W. Grainger Hunt
    Hans J. Peeters
    Robert W. Risebrough
    Brian J. Walton

    “Our combined credentials include more than 175 years as practicing scientists in fields related to wildlife conservation with a particular focus on raptorial birds.”

    The fine for the killing of one endangered Golden Eagle by a wind turbine is $500,000.

    Cape Wind is proposed by a private developer for an area where endangered birds are present and under protection of federal laws.

    Insane public policy neglects to tie reduction of harmful emissions by wind turbines by index to generous public subsidies.

    The irony is that Cape Wind is an offshore wind turbine proposal that the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer, Vestas, now claims is not a good plan. Royal Dutch Shell just pulled out of the London Array; and three US offshore wind projects have been scrapped due to anticipated costs too burdensome for ratepayers within the past year, Texas, Delaware and Long Island.

  8. DON MCNAUGHTON says:

    BEAR BAIT YOU HAVE MADE SOME EXCELLENT POINTS ! I FEEL THE SAME ABOUT YOUR STATEMENT WE NEED TO GET AS MUCH CLEAN ENERGY AS POSSILE. WHICH IS BETTER THE DEATHS OF A FEW BIRDS OR THOUSANDS OF TROOPS!

  9. Nick D says:

    Numerous recent studies show that animal mortality associated with properly sited wind farms using new turbine technology is a net gain versus generating that same amount of energy via more traditional means such as coal.

  10. DON MCNAUGHTON says:

    HAS THERE EVER BEEN A PUBLISHED REPORT ON HOW MANY DEAD BIRDS ARE FOUND AROUND POWERPLANT SMOKE STACKS.I LIVE NEAR ONE THAT GREENPEACE HAS TRIED TO SHUT DOWN BECAUSE OF THE HIGH POLLUTION AND THE TOWN DOWN WIND HAS A HIGH CANCER RATE. WE NEED WINDPOWER!

  11. Barbara Durkin says:

    Do you assume that wind power is an alternative source of energy? Cape Wind requires back-up as an intermittent source of energy. EMI Cape Wind proposed their back-up of a diesel fired fuel plant in Chelsea, MA, where the asthma rates are the highest in the state of MA, yards away from an elementary school.

    Wind power will not result in the closure of fossil fuel plants.

    Industrial wind power represents the diversification of energy investment portfolios by Big Oil. They’ve got you covered. It doesn’t matter if it’s effective or a solution to global warming, so long as you think it’s effective.

    Thomas G. Donlon stated in his column in the May 16, 2005 issue of Barrons:

    “In addition to environmental damage, wind power has an economic flaw that any GE engineer ought to be able to imagine: Since no human power can turn the wind on and off when it’s wanted for electricity, every bit of wind power capacity must be backed up by another generating source…Immelt, an engineer, understands this but he provided the executive’s counter argument”,

    “The customers want it, so it’s GE’s job to produce it.”

    Jeffrey Immelt is the CEO and Chairman of the Board of GE, operating in more than 100 countries, employing over 300,000 people, with revenues of over $131 billion in 2002.

    Immelt concedes that he understands the flaws behind the premise that wind turbines provide any “solution.”

    GE is responding to demand by supplying the GE CEO acknowledged placebo, wind turbines.

    The goal of industry relative to wind energy is tax sheltering, not clean air. If the goal was clean air, (instead of our pockets), generous public subsidies they require would be tied by index to reduction in harmful emissions by them.

  12. jwscotch says:

    Bear Bait…you are the new George Carlin! As for the SBDS (Sudden Bat Death Syndrome)…does that mean no more Halloween? What do I tell the grandkids? “Birds getting killed by cars”…just maybe they failed drivers ed or even DUI. Makes me wish our gutless politicians could fly weekly on a “migratory path.” Here’s hoping DON keeps far away from these turbine farms…with the amount of “wind” he generates, these turbines would create such a vacum (“that giant sucking sound” – R. Perot) every living thing within a thousand miles would be “sliced & diced.” Lets charge a tax on BIG OIL, BIG COAL and BIG GAS to help us feel better about our advancing stupidity.

  13. Sunshine says:

    I always wondered what moron started calling wind energy green. I have said for years that winds turbines are to birds what dams are to fish.

  14. bear bait says:

    George Carlin beat me to eternity!!! I am sure to follow, but not for a long, long time, I hope. I haven’t seen anyone talk about his schtick about the weatherman in the memorials. That was a favorite of mine. He and Jonathon Winters did that little story stuff the best of all who try.

    Do you need gas for your pick up truck, or is it really someone else needs for you to need gas?

    Every salesman, field man, processor rep, or visitor, who comes to the farm, gets to stop on the way and pick up something I have ordered or need. I have the liquid fertilizer delivery guy bringing some fence posts tomorrow. My field man won’t come this way without calling me to ask if I am out of any potable water dope, micro nutrients, organic phosphates, whatever. And I could have been doing that all along and not burning my gas to go get stuff. And I am sure there are many more tightwad, penny pinching, nickel stretching deals I will find before this is all over.

    I have not forgotten Enron, and the California energy crisis. In the back of my mind, I see nefarious energy traders scattered throughout the world trading oil, and the price of a barrel of oil is propped up by trading schemers, and there will be some short sellers show up when longs run out of momentum, and then the deal will fall as fast as it went up. Those magnum oil tankers, those ocean behemoths, are driving down the ocean full of oil, and then that cargo gets sold somewhere else, and the tanker turns on a new course, and it might get sold several times before it ever reaches a port to unload. Not unlike rail cars of 2x4s headed east unsold, or sold and rerouted. When the market comes to a standstill, the traders will make it move, up or down, because trading is what they do, and trade they will. Price means nothing. Margins mean everything.

    UPS and FedEx get more of my time, too. And the catalog people ought to be dancing in the streets. I don’t drive, and they deliver. 10 miles from a town of a quarter million and I am not driving there anymore.

    The wind turbine deal is fashionable and very tax sheltered. We get what we get because the Congress fashions the tax laws to force the issue. The free market is the free to tax you market of Congress, and the free to give you taxes market, also. The economic freedom in this country now, is the freedom to take the subsidy or not take it. If you don’t like the wind turbines killing birds, then buy a better Congressman. The one you got has let you down.

  15. Tom von Alten says:

    There’s no such thing as a free lunch, children.

    Life is a compromise. Then you die. But wait! There’s more! Your death will be cause for celebration for some organisms… even as those you carry around (more numerous than your own cells, I understand) will have to git along somehow else.

    Engineering is one of the more difficult disciplines one can go into, but many do, and have some success at it. Generalized ranting at the drawbacks of this or that, and how one group is more hypocritical than another has a considerably lower threshold for entry, and so we are blessed with a greater wealth of ranters than problem solvers.

    Either way, we’re not going to run out of problems.

  16. bear bait says:

    That is good case for why engineering should be a graduate degree program and not an undergrad program. An engineer needs a good liberal arts background to understand that engineering solutions always have a human impact, and unintended consequences. A lot of steps backward could be avoided.

  17. matt says:

    So why not just put big screens around them like we have on the portable fans in our homes? That would keep wildlife out save for bugs.

  18. Tom von Alten says:

    bb: engineering should be a graduate degree program and not an undergrad program

    I’m all for more liberal arts and liberals, but I wouldn’t agree with your conclusion. Engineering is exactly about technology’s “human impact,” and learning how to avoid, minimize and mitigate negative consequences, whether intended or unintended.

    The issue needs to be addressed through curriculum scope, breadth, and length. I’d rather see the support and expectation for 5-year undergraduate programs than to say you need a graduate degree, and throttle the pool of applicants. (The claim that people with graduate degrees are more well-rounded could also make an interesting discussion.)

  19. bear bait says:

    The norm is supposed to be a 4 year undergrad program, and year long masters program. Unfortunately, getting required classes not often offered usually extends the 4 to 5 and the one year masters deal to two or three. That is a higher ed problem that shows the huge divide between student expectations and faculty non-interest in teaching and emphasis on research.

    I would have no problem with a 5 year engineering program that had as a result a more rounded person solving problems. No problem at all. In this technology dominated age, it is probably needed more than we know.

  20. bear bait says:

    In the helter skelter race for alternative energy, common sense is sometimes left at the door. The enviro issue is to remove dams and fossil fuel. Like that can happen without revolution and a couple of hundred million casualties. So wind turbines are touted and the adverse wildlife effects are swept under the rug, as the lesser of evils.

    The coal burning deal is about low sulfur coal, and less acid rain. That is why Wyoming coal goes to Atlanta to run the nation’s largest coal fired generators. The issue with high head hydro is that it is cheap and makes little green house gas. Fish die, but if they lived, 90% would be taken for food anyway. Maybe we eat beef, farts and all, and not fish. It is all very complicated. Which means all the easy solutions are false. But we do need to lessen the bird and bat deaths. Maybe those turbines can’t run during migration, especially during migration at night. That could be sensible as well as workable.

    I have heard that wind in a big snow pack year like this one raises cain with the hydro people who have to forgo hydro to allow the more expensive turbines to generate because the power is bought and paid for by green users. tee hee. Want some bat guts with that green tea and brown rice? How about some nice tanagers and some finches. I’ll even throw in a couple of fat raptors…no Omega oils in finch flesh, I guess. And no salmon because the fishermen caught all the spawners at sea as bycatch in other fisheries. Tanager tartar it will be…..

  21. Jess says:

    For those of you old enough to remember the Bloom County comic strip, there was one segment where Opus decided to try and not harm any living organism. With every action he had he realised was harming something to the point where he was holding his breath so as not to inhale the airborne microorganisms.

    Point is, every thing we do has consequences for some one/thing else. Here in southwest Indiana we have the world’s largest concentration of coal fired power plants. Concomitant to this fact are the resulting pollution and health effects. Not to mention the massive degradation to the environment from mining the coal.

    You will probably not find many bird carcasses around these power plants but their overall death toll is surely astronomical for almost all living things. Wind turbines kill animals without a doubt. What human activity doesn’t? Intelligent siting of wind facilities will ameliorate many of these fatalities but won’t remove them.

    I would rather have the wind farms than the coal plants. There will need to be other more dependable sources to meet peak demand but coal and other fossil fuels have to go.

    The comment regarding cats is dead on. Feral cats are an environmental holocaust. Their defenders/apologists are deaf, dumb and blind to reality.

  22. bear bait says:

    Wind turbines have to be regulated along with all other power in the grid. So an unexpected wind event came through Central Oregon and Washington, and the communications between wind farms operations and BPA Hydro are not well thought out, and the result was that some wind farms did not get the word to dump wind and kept on producing power into a grid needing far less. The result is that hydro had to halt and the water was dumped, which causes nitrogen necrosis, the “bends”, in fish.

    So, poor wind management can result in killing salmon and steelhead in the Columbia and other rivers. Add fish to animals killed by wind power.

  23. bear bait says:

    The old adage about if it walks like a duck, looks like a duck, flies like a duck, it probably is a duck, can be applied to wind farms and wind turbine electrical generation. And so can the Willy Sutton quote when asked why he robbed banks, …”because that is where they keep the money.”

    So wouldn’t a thinking person figure, sooner or later, that animals that fly long distances, in migrations, would use a tail wind whenever possible? Wouldn’t you think that the windier a place might be, the better chance of seeing large numbers of migrants seasonally?

    It would follow, then, that wind farms have an obligation to not operate in times of migrations. Not that tough to understand. There is a time to sow, and a time to reap. Neither is the time to kill an enormous number of birds to be “green.” Not a workable solution to power….

  24. Barbara Durkin says:

    Bear Bait,

    Shut downs cost wind developers money and they’re only interested in their bottom line. The “father” of Adaptive Management, monitoring and mitigation is Dr. Shawn K. Smallwood. He sent a 64 page summary of the history of Altamont to me just yesterday. Shut downs have been used as a form of mitigation to stem the slaughter of endangered species that continues. The history of Altamont is a history of non-compliance by wind developers/operators. Endangered birds habituate the areas where the towers are not operational during migratory season. The 2 month shut down was not effective in the reduction of avian mortalities as mitigation. There was a recommendation of 4 months shut down. Non-compliance by wind developers and operators has compromised efforts to stem mortalities of endangered species. In fact, there are more deaths of burrowing owls in Altamont now than there were before the implimentation of mitigation measures.

    The problem is that enforcement of federal laws is lacking according to avian experts as well as Chairman Rahall. The fine for the death of one Golden Eagle by a wind turbine is $500,000.

    As you may note from my earlier post, 2003 was when the AWEA first recognized a problem with bats being killed by wind turbines. What have they done to mitigate this problem in any way since 2003?

    Nothing.

    In order for a workable solution to be workable, there has to be a good faith effort on the part of the wind companies. As well as teeth in the federal laws that provide protection to endangered species, and keep the wind companies “honest”.

  25. Barbara Durkin says:

    “The customers want it, so it’s GE’s job to produce it.”

    Jeffrey Immelt, the CEO and Chairman of the Board of GE, on wind turbines, placebos, and why we need them.

    “Because that is where they keep the money.”

    Willy Sutton, bank robber, responding to the question, “Why do you rob banks?”

  26. Barbara Durkin says:

    Subject: House Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Oceans Oversight Hearing on “Going, Going, Gone? An Assessment of the Global Decline in Bird Populations”

    Held: Thursday, July 10, 2008, at 10:00 a.m.

    Testimony (excerpt)

    George Wallace, PhD
    Vice President for International Programs
    American Bird Conservancy

    Last year, my colleague at ABC, Dr. Michael Fry presented testimony to the full Committee on the ongoing impact of commercial wind energy production. While the actual number of birds killed by wind turbines is unknown, estimates have been made in the range of 30,000 to 60,000 birds per year at the current level of wind development. However, the wind industry is prepared to increase the number of turbines 30 fold over the next 20 years in order to fulfill the President’s request that renewable energy projects supply 20% of the nation’s energy needs by 2030. At the current estimated mortality rate, the wind industry will be killing 900,000 to 1.8 million birds per year. While this number is a relatively small percentage of the total number of birds estimated to live in North America, many of the bird species being killed are already declining for other reasons, and losses of more than a million birds per year would exacerbate these declines.

    ABC recommends that any renewal of the production tax credit by Congress include provisions that require minimizing bird and bat kills by wind projects, and require developers to follow standard Best Management Practices in avoiding and minimizing bird and wildlife impacts in order to qualify for the full, taxpayer-provided subsidy.”

    An excellent strategy that recognizes the wind industry’s priority, $$$.

    Bravo, ABC!!!

  27. Barbara Durkin says:

    There is feigned surprise that wind turbines kill bats in unacceptable numbers in 2008 by industry. The surprise occurred long ago in 2003 when AWEA recognized this problem as the most significant…

    The American Wind Energy Association:

    “It was not until an avian study in 2003 at a project in West Virginia discovered relatively high numbers of bat fatalities that the issue became the most significant wildlife concern for the wind energy industry.”

    http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/story?id=50137

    Addressing much needed cross pollination of information:

    http://www.greatfallstribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080720/NEWS01/807200303

  28. Tom von Alten says:

    Interesting contribution! The article goes on to say:
    “The movement of wind-turbine blades creates a vortex of lower air pressure around the blade tips similar to the vortex at the tip of aeroplane wings.”

    Most planes are adding winglets to reduce those tip vortices. Perhaps an improved blade design could reduce the risk to bats?

    The article doesn’t address what bats are doing close enough to get into trouble in the first place. Perhaps bat food is getting entrained in the vortices and they’re going after that? If winglets can’t solve the problem completely, we’re back to thinking about bat repellents.

  29. George says:

    “…we’re back to thinking about bat repellents” ???

    How about instead following the recommendations of the lead bat researcher involved with the recent “barotrauma” research, who indicated that the “most promising” mitigation strategy is to shut down the wind turbines during low wind conditions at nights when bats are concentrating in the vicinity of wind farm? Her recommendation occurs at the end of this recent article – see: http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2008/08/25/wind-turbine-bats.html .

    However, the wind industry has been opposed to this mitigation strategy from the first time it was recommended – in 2004! For confirmation of my claim, check out the box at bottom of p. 3 in an article published in Bat Conservation International’s magazine: http://www.vawind.org/Assets/Docs/Battered.pdf , as well as read the WV Gazette article about FPL’s refusal to allow independent bat research to occur at any of its many wind farms – http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/media-archive/FPLEnergyVetoStymiesBatStudyGroupSays.pdf .

    In addition, there is ample scientific research and expert opinion which suggests that wind farms shouldn’t be sited where they pose a high risk of significant bat mortality – such as along forested Appalachian ridges. Yet wind energy developers backed by AWEA are pursuing numerous, large wind farm projects in this most problematic region.

    Boosters of wind farms should reconsider whether they wish to remain as blind as bats…

  30. Barbara Durkin says:

    George, blind the boosters are of wind energy, for they unwittingly support vicious money driven predators represented by the AWEA. I have a copy of a letter from the AG of CA regarding a scientist who was persecuted by them for doing his job.

    APWRA, Altamont, wind turbines were shut down and powered back up when endangered birds were perched on them to the horror of true avian advocates. One of the carcassess remains in the refridgerator and the offending party skates the $500,000. penalty associated for killing one golden eagle.

    Why? Chairman of Natural Resources states no enforcement action of the laws that protect endangered species is being taken. We need to prosecute these criminals.

    On “Adaptive Management”…

    Carl G. Thelander to CA Energy Resources and Development Commission:

    “As stated above, the industry has been making and breaking promises to solve the bird problem for many years. Presenting ‘Adaptive Management Plans’ is not new to the industry. Seven years ago in 1998, industry Consultants Paul Kerlinger and Richard Curry presented an avian mitigation plan for the APWRA at a meeting of the National Wind Coordinating Committee. In that plan, the authors referred to an Adaptive Management Program that was comprised of such things as: priority treatment of high risk turbines, testing and installing perch guards, developing a peer-review process for evaluating the efficacy of perch guards, and providing assistance to the County in its rodent abatement program at the APWRA. This proposed Adaptive Management Program was a proposal that gained more time for the APWRA owners to avoid paying for any effective mitigation, and it was never implemented.”

    On barring independent researchers:

    The House Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Oceans
    Oversight Hearing on: “Gone with the Wind: Impacts of Wind Turbines on Birds and Bats.”
    Testimony of Donald Michael Fry, PhD
    Director, Pesticides and Birds Program
    American Bird Conservancy
    May 1, 2007
    Room 1324 Longworth House Office Building.

    “In fact, when independent researchers finally gained access to the Altamont Pass area, under contract from the California Energy Commission, the results of their research and documentation were viscously attacked by staff from the California Wind Energy Association. Every effort was made to discredit the research and personally discredit the researchers. The NWCC website provides an excellent bibliographic resource to much of this information, and documents and links are available at: http://www.nationalwind.org/workgroups/wildlife/