Wind Farms On Public Land Stymied By Eagle Concerns, Radar Interference
The article notes a growing recognition of conflicts wind development on public lands are running into, slowing wind development on public lands across the West.
The only project approved is the Spring Valley wind farm in Nevada where the nearest eagle nest was over four miles away. Gina Jones, BLM’s project leader, said the company agreed to extensive mitigation, such as putting “anti-perch” devices on transmission poles within two miles of the wind farm.
You may remember that we’ve considered Spring Valley, Nevada on this site. Having worked a little bit on the project, and considering the experts regard for the “extensive mitigation” measures that agency is accepting for these giant projects, it seems a bit disingenuous to suggest that BLM is doing a thorough job of genuinely considering the impacts. Here you have big Wind putting in a farm at the mouth of the largest bat roost in the Great Basin Ecosystem and smack-dab in a sub-basin between two ranges that serve as parallel corridors for eagles.
“Mitigation” won’t fix poor siting.
In addition, wildlife experts continue to note that data on the effectiveness of mitigation measures is often not released for public consideration. Wind companies may collect data at other farms, and that data may give insight, but unless it squares with the Industry’s bottom line you can bet it’s not going to be released. What does that say about science ? Curtailment (i.e. shut the turbines down) standards promised in response to threshold impact (turbines get shut down after X number of bats or eagles killed, curtailment during certain times of day/migration seasons, etc. etc.) are often inadequate, holding to threshold numbers that permit unacceptable kill numbers.
Expedited development of Wind (and other industrial-scale “renewable” projects) on public lands is fast becoming the new, modern-day land rush, and unless Wind developers get the idea that they need to avoid wildlife impact on the outset (siting), the true impact to innumerable values of this industrialized knee-jerk may not be fully realized for decades.