Keith Stelling, BA (Hons) MA, (McMaster), MNIMH, Dip Phyt, MCPP (England)
RR1 Southampton, Ontario, Canada N0H 2L0
July 31 2013
The Honourable Kathleen Wynne,
Premier of Ontario and Minister of Agriculture
Queen’s Park, Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A1
Hon David Orazietti,
Minister of Natural Resources
Premier Wynne and Minister Orazietti:
COMMENTS RE: EBR Registry Number: 011-9446 Amherst Island Wind Energy Project – Permit for activities with conditions to achieve overall benefit to the species – ESA s.17(2)(c) Ministry of Natural Resources.
I am bringing this EBR submission to your attention so that you may become aware of the failure of the Ministry of Natural Resources to carry out its duty to protect the environment.
It is disconcerting that only a short time ago your government received many letters from biologists, conservationists and Ontario residents expressing their disbelief at the MNR’s use of “Overall Benefit Permits” to allow renewable energy developments to destroy the habitats of endangered species. There is no scientific evidence, conservation principle or legal basis for the issuing of these “Overall Benefit Permits” which fail to comply to the requirements of ESA s.17(2)(c).
The purpose of this submission is to demonstrate, for the record, that once again the Ministry is failing to use due diligence to protect Ontario’s biodiversity by ignoring available scientific evidence. You will note the four pages of references listed at the end of the submission. It should also be
pointed out that offering so-called “Overall Benefit Permits” to destroy the habitat of endangered species contravenes the Ontario Endangered Species Act and the Federal Migratory Birds Convention Act.
One hopes that by repeating these facts for a new minister and a new premier, it will finally be realized that there is no place for such developments near Ontario’s significant wildlife habitat.
I would appreciate your prompt replies.
EBR Comments Re: Amherst Island Wind Energy Project
- Hon Bob Chiarelli, Minister of Energy firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
- Hon Jim Bradley, Minister of Environment firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mr. Andrew Hurd, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of the Premier c/o email@example.com
- Randy Hillier, MPP firstname.lastname@example.org
- Doris Dumais Director, Environmental Approvals Access and Service mailto:email@example.com
- Mr. Mansoor Mahmood, Supervisor – TEAM 2 Approvals Services Ministry of the Environment firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ms. Carrie Hayward Ministry Natural Resources Regional Director email@example.com
- Mr. Peter Carter, Ministry Natural Resources, Policy & Program Advisor, Renewable Energy Program firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mr. Eric Boysen, Ministry of Natural Resources, Director – Biodiversity Branch email@example.com
- Dr. John Harrison firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dr. Scott Petrie email@example.com
- Anne Bell Ontario Nature Director of Conservation and Education firstname.lastname@example.org
- David O’Toole, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Natural Resources david.o’email@example.com
- Jim McCarter, Auditor General of Ontario mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
- Gord Miller, Environmental Commissioner mailto:email@example.com
- Andre Marin, Ombudsman of Ontario mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tim Hudak, MPP, Leader, Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario mailto:email@example.com
- Lisa Thompson, MPP mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
- Andrea Horwath, MPP, Leader New Democratic Party of Ontario mailto:email@example.com
- NDP Research mailto:CervoniE@ndp.on.ca
- Chief Randall Kahgee, Saugeen First Nation, mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
- Chief Scott Lee, Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation mailto:email@example.com
- Agatha Garcia Wright, Environmental Approvals Branch mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
- COSEWIC Secretariat, Canadian Wildlife Service Environment Canada
- Caroline Schultz, Ontario Nature mailto:email@example.com
- Dr. Ted Cheskey, Conservation Ecologist, Nature Canada tcheskey(@)naturecanada.ca
- Dr. Jon McCracken, Bird Studies Canada mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
- Blue Sky, mailto:CBC BlueSky@CBC.CA
A newly published peer-reviewed study reports U.S. wind turbines kill 1.4 million birds and bats every year, even while producing just 3 percent of U.S. electricity. The numbers reveal that President Obama’s global warming plan will kill hundreds of millions of birds and bats while doing little if anything to reduce global temperatures.
Even if no new wind turbines are ever built, turbine blades will slice 14 million birds and bats to death in mid-flight during the next decade. However, global warming alarmists say we must reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 50 or even 80 percent. President Obama’s recently announced assault on climate change appears likely to seek such numbers. Given that most global warming alarmists also vigorously oppose hydro power, natural gas power and nuclear power, reducing emissions by 50 to 80 percent would require increasing the number of wind turbines roughly 25 fold. That means killing 350 million birds and bats in the United States every decade.
Actually, the number of bird and bat deaths would likely be much higher than that. Wind turbines produce power on an intermittent and unpredictable basis, meaning conventional power plants must remain cycling on a constant basis to fill minute-by-minute fluctuations in wind power. That means electricity produced by wind turbines is far from carbon neutral. Also, wind power companies have already cherry picked the best locations to place wind turbines. As wind power companies are forced to build their industrial wind farms on less productive sites, each new wind turbine and wind farm will produce less electricity than its predecessors. Accordingly, producing 25 times as much wind power means building a heck of a lot more than 25 times more wind turbines.
Looking at the direct consequences of all these new wind turbines, it is hard to visualize so many bird and bat deaths. After all, 350 million is a HUGE number. And that is not a one-time number. That is the number of birds and bats that wind turbines would kill every decade. How would bird and bat populations be able to sustain themselves under such an onslaught? The answer is, most bird and bat populations likely couldn’t sustain themselves, and President Obama’s climate plan would initiate an open-ended aviary holocaust the likes of which we have never before seen.
Bald eagles, California condors and whooping cranes would be among the first to go. But it wouldn’t be just endangered and threatened species that would fail to sustain their numbers. Pretty much every kind of bird you can think of would race precipitously toward unsustainability, with many facing a very real threat of extinction.
Bat populations would also be decimated. Bats are already in rapid decline due to white-nose syndrome, a cold-loving fungus that is decimating bat populations in the U.S. Northeast and is spreading westward across the country. Bat populations in the Northeast have declined by approximately 80 percent, and the 888,000 bat kills resulting from wind turbines each year aren’t helping the cause. Ramp up the number of wind turbines and ramp up the pressure on declining bat populations.
Killing off so many birds and bats every year would have profound negative consequences beyond the mere deaths of birds and bats. Birds and bats are vital in keeping insect populations in check. Kill off as many birds and bats as President Obama desires and mosquito-borne diseases will assault Americans with striking ferocity. Crops will suffer under a growing onslaught of insect attack. Farmers will have to employ more and stronger pesticides to secure our food production.
With wind turbines killing off so many birds of prey, infestations of rats and other vermin will also become more frequent and severe.
Moreover, wind turbines require vast amounts of land to produce even a small amount of electricity. Even under optimum conditions, It takes approximately 400 square miles of land to produce as much electricity as a conventional power plant. Ramp up wind power production to replace conventional power plants and watch America’s remaining open spaces turn into whirring killing fields for birds and bats.
If global warming actually threatened to destroy the planet, perhaps we would have to sacrifice so many birds and bats for the cause. But the reality is just the opposite. United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) lead author Hans von Storch conceded earlier this month that computer models predicting significant future global warming cannot replicate recent temperatures and likely need to be adjusted downward to predict less warming. A panel of experts convened last week by Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer agreed President Obama’s recent assertion that global warming is accelerating is not supportable by real-world facts and data. Hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, wildfires, etc., are all in long-term downward trends as our planet modestly warms in its recovery from the recent Little Ice Age.
Finally, sacrificing hundreds of millions of American birds and bats would do nothing to impact global temperatures. China alone emits more carbon dioxide than the entire Western Hemisphere. Even if the United States immediately cut emissions by 80 percent, new growth in Chinese emissions would render our reductions moot in less than a decade. Americans would suffer the negative economic and environmental consequences of eliminating conventional power generation, there would be no measurable impact on global temperatures, and Americans would be put at a competitive disadvantage producing goods and services while burdened with immensely high energy costs.
President Obama, you keep your global warming plan, we’ll keep our aviary wildlife and our undeveloped lands.
7.0 Requirements for clause 17(2)(c) are not met.
The MNR defines overall benefit as:
1. “increasing the number of reproductively-capable individuals of the species living in the wild;
2. “increasing the distribution of the species within its natural range;
3. “increasing the viability or resilience of existing population(s);
4. “bringing about an abatement or reversal of a declining population trend (i.e. reduction of key threats to the species survival);
5. or “increasing the quality or amount of habitat for the species”. (23)
Where there is an increased potential for risk to the species or its habitat or proposed overall benefit actions carry a higher degree of uncertainty, determination of the adequacy of the overall benefit plan will err on the side of caution in favour of affording greater benefits to the species or habitat.
The MNR policy decisions are required to be based upon the principles that the “MNR staff should exercise caution and special concerns for natural values in the face of . . . uncertainty” and that “it is less costly and more effective to anticipate and prevent negative environmental impacts before
undertaking new activities than it is to correct environmental problems after the fact”.
By issuing “Overall Benefit Permits”, it appears that the MNR would be failing to anticipate and prevent the negative environmental impacts outlined above. The MNR would also be failing to recognize the threat of significant reduction or loss of biological diversity associated with the issuing of “Overall Benefit Permits”.
The action agreed to in the permits does not reduce key threats to these endangered species’ survival but rather compounds them.
There is every reason to believe that the increased potential for risk to the species and its habitat or proposed overall benefit actions carry a higher degree of uncertainty. However there is no evidence to show that “determination of the adequacy of the overall benefit plan has erred on the side of caution in favour of affording greater benefits to the species or habitat”.
It is therefore “necessary to require demonstration of the overall benefit before the proposed activity may commence”. However, demonstration to the contrary has already been provided at Wolfe Island. (24)
1. (i) There is no evidence that the mitigation plan has considered the cumulative negative effect of wind turbine development across Ontario in terms of collision mortality and habitat degradation to migrating passerines.
(ii) Nor has it taken into account, the known species sensitivity to habitat degradation and fragmentation—the single most important factor in these species decline.
(iii) The MOE and the MNR have not taken precautionary measures with regard to noise impacts from wind turbine developments on these species. Nor have they considered the masking effect of turbine blades which biologists believe is a threat to wildlife survival.
(iv) The MNR makes no indication that it has considered noise from wind turbines including low frequency noise as part of the cumulative impacts analysis of the wind facility on these species which biologists have observed are sensitive to noise.
2. There is no evidence that the proposed activity meets the legislated requirements for an overall benefit permit as listed by the MNR in its Endangered Species Act Submission Standards for Activity Review and 17(2)(c) Overall Benefit Permits February 2012.
3. There is no evidence that “the determination of the sufficiency of overall benefit actions has involved the consideration of the baseline condition of the species (e.g., numbers, current state, trend, sensitivity to disturbance, life processes) or habitat (e.g., amount, current state, trend,
sensitivity to disturbance and functionality) that would be adversely affected by the activity”.
4. MNR must consider the cumulative effect on the Eastern Meadowlark and the Bobolink of the other “Overall Benefit Permits” granted or being considered across Ontario. (25)
5. The MNR must also consider “the severity, geographic extent, duration and permanency of the potential adverse effects likely to result from the proposed activity”; likewise, the cumulative long term, geographically extensive and permanent effect (at least for 20 years = 6 generations of Bobolinks and Eastern Meadowlarks) of multiple wind developments in Ontario and the Eastern USA as an additional limiting factor for these species.
6. It would appear from the above that, given the sensitivity of this ecological system the proposed overall benefit actions are biologically and ecologically” inappropriate for the species given sensitivity to habitat fragmentation and noise disturbance.
7. In view of the body of peer reviewed scientific knowledge referenced above, there is no evidence that the proposed actions are based on the best available scientific information, another legislative requirement.
8. Given the already documented vulnerability of these species to habitat fragmentation and disturbance, there is no reason to believe that “new knowledge acquired through actions to fill
critical information gaps” has the potential to contribute to an overall benefit plan where the lack of this knowledge is directly limiting the species’ protection and recovery. On the contrary, there is every reason to suggest that the activities allowed by the “Overall Benefit Permit” will directly lead to
the further decline of these species.
9. It has not been demonstrated that the overall benefit actions will improve the ability of the species at risk to carry out their various life processes; rather, in view of the scientific information available, quite the opposite effect is immediately foreseeable.
10. The MNR must recognize that “in some circumstances it may not be possible to achieve an overall benefit for the species”.
3.0 Failure to consider body of scientific research
The EBR stipulates that scientific considerations must be part of decision-making in the ministry. Yet the ministry appears to have overlooked the most salient science related to the three threatened species, the Eastern Meadowlark, the Bobolink, and the Whip-poor-will which are all experiencing critical declines resulting from loss, degradation and fragmentation of habitat. (7)
In May, 2011, the Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella Magna) was designated as “threatened”. This is the category reserved for a wildlife species that is facing imminent extirpation or extinction if limiting factors are not reversed. Meadowlarks have experienced an overall decline of 71% from 1970 to 2009. They prefer weedy, older hayfields and abandoned grasslands and the loss of this habitat is the major factor in their decline.
The Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) has also acquired COSEWIC’s “threatened” status. “Over 25% of the global population of this grassland bird species breeds in Canada. . . .”. (COSEWIC 2012) Habitat loss and fragmentation are the main reason for its demise. The Whip-poor-will (Caprimulgus vociferous) has experienced long term and short term population declines (30% over the last 10 years), largely due to habitat loss and degradation. It is also listed as “threatened” by COSEWIC.(10)
3.1 Numbers decline when habitat is fragmented or reduced
“Habitat fragmentation not only reduces the habitat area of a species and of its food and nesting resources, but it also impedes access of the species or its food resources to habitat patches surrounded by the barriers creating the fragmentation (e.g., non-habitat). Habitat patches that are smaller than a certain size threshold or isolated by a certain distance threshold to other habitat patches are no longer able to support the species. Habitat fragmentation results in the reduction of
a net larger habitat area than can be measured by summing the remaining, apparent habitat patches (Wilcox and Murphy 1985, Saunders et al. 1991, Hall et al. 1997)”.(8)
The numbers of a species are likely to decline if its habitat is reduced; fragmentation effects imply that the value of the remaining habitat also is diminished”. (Johnson 2001) (9)
3.2 Reproductive success is lower in small habitat fragments
The loss caused by reduction of habitat and fragmentation is even more significant because of the special requirements of the species. Consider the Bobolink: Reproductive success is reportedly lower in small habitat fragments (Kuehl and Clark, 2002; Winter et al., 2004).
3.3 Bobolink sensitivities to area, habitat size, edge habitat and nest predation
The Bobolink is area sensitive. (Johnson, 2001). “The Bobolink is sensitive to habitat size (Fletcher and Korford, 2003); (Murphy, 2003); (Bollinger and Gavin, 2004); (Horn and Korford, 2006); (Renfrew and Ribic, 2008). Dr. Shawn Smallwood. “Comment on City of Elk Grove Sphere of Influence EIR”. 21 November 2011
“Habitat Fragmentation Effects on Birds in Grasslands and Wetlands”,
Douglas Johnson (11) A number of grassland birds including Bobolink and eastern Meadowlark are sensitive to noise with
decrease in numbers and breeding patches (Forman et al. 2002). (See section 4.3 below “Noise from wind turbines). The Bobolink responds negatively to the presence of edges separating its habitat, particularly forest edges (Helzer and Jelinski, 1999; Fletcher, 2003)”.
“Habitat fragmentation exacerbates the problem of habitat loss for grassland and wetland birds. Remaining patches of grasslands and wetlands may be too small, too isolated, and too influenced by edge effects to maintain viable populations of some breeding birds.” 10
The COSEWIC monograph on the Bobolink notes: “Throughout its breeding range, the main effect of habitat fragmentation is an increase in nest predation by various avian and terrestrial species (Johnson and Temple, 1990); (Lavallée, 1998); (Van Damme, 1999); (Renfrew and Ribic, 2003); (Bollinger and Gavin, 2004); (Renfrew et al., 2005)”.
“Such habitat specificity makes their [grassland birds] populations vulnerable to habitat loss and degradation at each stage of their annual life cycle. Not surprisingly, the primary cause of declines of grassland birds is related to declines in habitat supply and quality. . . (McCracken, 2005)”
Morrisons, one of three retailers proposing sites around the town, wants to build a store on the local football club ground. To gain permission it has offered to provide a replacement ground at nearby Bodieve. But the possibility that dormice, a European Protected Species, are inhabiting that site has led planning officers to recommend the council refuse permission.
The local planning officer said the football club development should be refused as “there is a reasonable likelihood of dormice being present”.
Although no dormice have been found, they have been spotted 2km away. The local planning committee meets to rule on Morrisons’ application on Thursday.
Stephen Frankel, a spokesman for campaign group Love Wadebridge, said: “These companies are very powerful. They want to ignore us, but it seems they cannot ignore our dormice.”
Morrisons said it had commissioned a local ecologist to carry out a dormouse survey. It said it had asked Cornwall Council to defer its decision on its planning application until the survey had been completed.
A spokesperson said: “At this stage, no evidence has been produced to show there is a dormouse presence on the site. However, our scheme, should it be granted consent, would provide for a significant amount of new dormouse habitat.”
AK) Might be an idea to search for dormice wherever a wind ?farm? is threatened ?
It is strange, but a fact, that discovery of resident dormice will more likely prevent a wind ?farm? than opposition from local people ! So ? look for the mighty doormouse !
We lived in the hills of Radnorshire and dormice nested in our garden stone wall for years. We could watch them through our French window as they darted in and out of the wall just a few feet away. This was mainly because we left our immediate surroundings undisturbed as we preferred to let it remain as wild as possible. So, no whirring machines, weeding or similar activities. This meant that our little patch of wilderness was treated as a last resort by some of the shyest birds (ravens) and other creatures. I would not have missed the experience for the world.
Courtesy of Sarah Butler of The Telegraph
Ontario Government Abandons Endangered Species – Environmentalists Decry Cabinet Decision To Gut Law Protecting Imperiled Wildlife
This latest news about the gutting of even more of the protections we have left for endangered species in this province of Ontario, Canada, where regulations for protecting species on the worldwide endangered list are already among the weakest in the developed world, is particularly discouraging. I had hoped that the new Liberal premier of this province, Kathleen Wynne, would be a little more of an environmentalist than her God-awful predecessor Dalton McGuinty. But maybe not.
I know there are arguments from developers and exploiters of natural resources for gutting environmental protection laws, but how far do we go in that direction. Don’t we give a shit about saving anything for our children or our grandchildren? Or does everything have to be about raping whoever or whatever for a buck?)
Toronto, May 31, 2013 – The provincial Cabinet announced today May 31st) its approval of sweeping exemptions for industry under the Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA). Environmental organizations are incensed at the government’s abdication of its responsibility to protect and recover Ontario’s endangered plants and animals.
“This is the first major test of the new Cabinet’s commitment to the environment, and they have failed,” says Dr. Anne Bell, director of conservation and education at Ontario Nature. “They have turned their backs on the province’s most imperiled wildlife, and at a time when the federal government is poised to do the same.”
The new exemptions lower the standard of protection for endangered plants and animals across many industries, including forestry, pits and quarries, renewable energy, hydro, mining, infrastructure development, waste management, and commercial and residential development. They also dramatically reduce government oversight of activities affecting Ontario’s lakes, rivers, forests and wildlife.
“The scope of the exemptions is appalling,” says Amber Ellis, executive director of Earthroots. “The government has caved to industry and turned a deaf ear to all who believe in society’s duty to protect endangered species.”
Among the exemptions is a special five-year exemption for the forestry sector, which leaves forest-dwelling species like the threatened woodland caribou out in the cold. Listed as threatened in Canada in 2000, the woodland caribou has already lost about 50% of its historic range in Ontario and continues to decline, due to industrial activity.
“I guess we’ll need a new animal for the Canadian quarter,” says Dan McDermott, director of the Ontario Chapter of Sierra Club Canada.
“It’s hard to understand how Cabinet could choose to dismantle a law that was passed with broad public acclaim and support from all parties just six years ago,” adds Bell. “Looks like endangered species only had fair-weather friends at Queen’s Park.”
The costs of administering the ESA were one of the factors driving the decision. Environmentalists question, however, the wisdom of Cabinet’s decision even from an economic perspective. A government study in 2009 determined the value of ecosystem services (pollination, carbon sequestration, soil retention, flood control, etc.) in southern Ontario alone at over $84 billion per year.
“Wise management of this asset demands careful government oversight and enforcement of environmental laws and policies, not environmental deregulation,” says Bell. “Society simply can’t afford to continue to lose species and degrade the natural environment.”
For more information, please contact:
John Hassell, Communications Manager, Ontario Nature: 416-444-8419, ext. 269; cell: 416-786-2171; email@example.com.
Dan McDermott, Sierra Club Ontario Chapter Director; cell: 416-873-3852; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Anne Bell, Director of Conservation and Education, Ontario Nature; cell: 416-659-2339; email@example.com.
Ontario Nature protects wild species and wild spaces through conservation, education and public engagement. It connects thousands of individuals and communities with nature through conservation groups across the province (charitable registration #10737 8952 RR0001). For more information, visit www.ontarionature.org.
Earthroots is a grassroots environmental organization dedicated to the protection of Ontario’s wilderness, wildlife and watersheds, through research, education and action. Earthroots acts on behalf of its supporters across Canada and empowers thousands of people each year to advocate for better environmental protection. For more information, visit www.earthroots.org
One of their most loathsome forms of hypocrisy is the death of protected bird species, which they are supposed to care for, by wind turbines which is what they really care about.
The US government is issuing licenses to kill for Green energy companies, while prosecuting anyone else that kills a protected bird.
The California Condor is under serious threat from wind farms, the Golden Eagle is being decimated and could well be extinct very soon, and in Spain bird choppers kill between 6 – 18 million birds and bats every year.
Wind Farms are piting Green activist against Green activist in the US where one bunch of Greens are using the legal system to shutdown the other Greens, Green energy wet dream to stop the bird chopppers, chopping birds.
Anyway there is nothing to worry about, because according to Leo Hickman in a post entitled Wind myths: Turbines kill birds and bats none of this happening:
Bats, despite their ability to use sonar to avoid moving objects, are susceptible to “‘barotrauma”, a sense of disorientation caused by the rapid change of air pressure created by a turbines rotating blade. An unexpectedly high number of bat fatalities have been recorded across the US and Europe over the past decade.
“A recent review of the problem put forward no less than 11 hypotheses as to what might be contributing to these [bat] fatalities,” says the Centre of Sustainable Energy in Bristol in its publication Common Concerns About Wind Power. “Clearly, a great deal of research is still needed.”
With regard to bird fatalities, it says: “Wind turbines represent an insignificant fraction of the total number of bird deaths caused by man-made objects or activities (eg building structures, transmission lines, and keeping domestic cats).” According to the CSE, for every bird killed by a turbine, 5,820, on average, are killed striking buildings, typically glass windows.
That is the way that a Green ecomentalist in love with the Green renewable energy dream sees it, obfuscate the numbers of birds killed by introducing irrelevancies like bird deaths by cats, when was the last time a cat caught and killed a Golden Eagle?
On the other side of the argument this is how Green activists that actually care about raptors and other protected bird species see it:
The British public is being misinformed regarding bird mortality at wind farms, denounce Save the Eagles International (STEI) and the World Council for Nature (WCFN). It is contrary to fact to pretend that these industrial structures are “carefully sited” so as to avoid risks to birds and bats. It is equally false to allege that grouse and other ground-nesting birds don’t mind laying their eggs under wind turbines, or that raptors avoid these dangerous areas.
In a recent article, The Guardian states: “Studies in the UK had found evidence that birds of prey in particular avoided wind farms” (1). But if you look closely at the picture shown in the article, you’ll notice that the two birds flying between the turbines are raptors, red kites in fact, which were reintroduced in the UK at great cost. “So! – they avoid wind farms, eh?” – quips STEI’s President Mark Duchamp.
In Germany, where a few wind farms have been loosely monitored for bird and bat mortality, the government has disclosed the number of carcasses reported so far: 69 eagles, 186 kites, 192 buzzards, 13 harriers, 59 falcons, 12 hawks, 7 ospreys, plus hundreds more birds of all sizes and even more bats (2). “These figures are just a small sample of the ongoing massacre”, comments Duchamp, who cites this example: “Ubbo Mammen, an ornithologist commissioned by the German government, estimates that 200-300 Red Kites are being killed yearly by wind turbines in Germany” (3). These machines are driving many rare species into extinction, warns Mark.
In the UK, few raptor deaths leaked through what STEI calls “the windfarm cover-up”: three red kites, one osprey, and one sea eagle. “Officially, the eagle died of a heart attack”, mocks Duchamp. “In the UK, wind farms are not being monitored for bird mortality: this is how the issue is being kept from the public’s eye. Scavengers and wind farm employees dispose of the dead bodies, so it is extremely rare for a dead eagle or osprey to be found by some nosy trespasser.”
If you visit the Save The Eagles International web site there is not one reference to Anthropogenic Global Warming religion, just people who care about raptors and are not involved in the political agenda of man made climate change, unlike Big Green fronted by Greenpeace, WWF & FoE who ceased to be environmental organisations 20 years ago.
Read more about Tony at his website: TonyAardvark.com
By Miriam Raftery
January 20, 2013
January 20, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Wildlife protection groups and residents have reacted in horror to the removal of an active bald eagle nest by a wind developer in Canada, an event documented on video January 5, just weeks after a photo of the active pair was taken at the site.
Now ECM has learned that the environmental documents filed by Iberdrola Renewables for its Tule Wind project in McCain Valley would allow SDG&E to “remove all existing raptor nests” prior to construction.
April 5, 2013
Author Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death. James Rust is a policy advisor for The Heartland Institute (www.Heartland.org), retired professor of nuclear engineering, and a noted critic of climate alarmism.
“It’s high time that people’s safety – and truly devastating impacts on important bird and bat species – stopped taking a back seat to political agendas, crony corporatism, and folklore environmentalism.”
Georgia residents recently learned that a rare bat has stalled state highway improvements. The May 2012 sighting of an endangered Indiana brown bat in a northern Georgia tree has triggered federal regulations requiring that state road projects not “harm, kill or harass” bats.
Even the possibility of disturbing bats or their habitats would violate the act, the feds say. Therefore, $460 million in Georgia road projects have been delayed for up to eighteen months, so that “appropriate studies” can be conducted. The studies will cost $80,000 to $120,000 per project, bringing the total for all 104 road project analyses to $8–12 million, with delays adding millions more.
Bat Benefits … and Overreach
Bats have a vital ecological function that translates into agricultural and health benefits for us. A single colony of 150 big brown bats can consume up to 1.3 million flying insect pests per year, Dr. Justin Boyles and other scientists point out, preventing crop damage and eradicating countless mosquitoes. If Indiana bats are expanding their range from Tennessee into Georgia, that could be good news.
“White nose syndrome” is impacting populations of hibernating bats in caves all over the Eastern USA. The infectious disease is probably fungal in origin, these scientists say, and the loss of North America’s bats to WNS could cost farmers $4-53 billion per year – and let mosquitoes proliferate.
At first blush, then, the delay-and-study decision by the U.S. and Georgia Departments of Transportation (DOT) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect these voracious furry flyers makes sense. (The FWS enforces the Endangered Species Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act and similar laws.)
However, the Georgia bat study action is akin to obsessing about a cut finger, while ignoring cancer. The schizophrenic decision underscores how environmental concerns, DOT actions and federal threats to impose penalties or withhold highway funds too often seem to reflect ideologies, agendas and politics, rather than science or actual risks of harming a species
It’s true that Peach State highway projects could conceivably affect bat colonies or daytime rest periods for these nocturnal creatures, to some small degree. But the road work will reduce accidents and crash-related deaths – and delays will likely result in more injuries and fatalities.
The Real Bat Problem
Meanwhile, other human activities are decimating bat populations all over America. But environmental groups remain silent, and state and federal wildlife “guardians” do little to stop the carnage. How is that possible?
The exempted activities involve heavily subsidized wind turbines that generate expensive, intermittent electricity and require “backup” hydrocarbon-fueled power plants for some 80% of their rated or “nameplate” capacity.
A U.S. Geological Survey report investigated the causes and consequences of bat fatalities around the world. Other analyses have addressed the violent effects that wind turbines have on bats, which are vulnerable because turbines are especially busy at night, when bats are everywhere but electricity demand is at its lowest. Bats are struck by blades traveling 100-200 mph at their tips or felled by “barotrauma,” sudden air pressure changes that explode their lungs, as explained in a 2008 Scientific American article “On a wing and low air: The surprising way wind turbines kill bats.”
Supposedly “eco-friendly” wind turbines in the Mid-Atlantic Highlands kill tens of thousands of bats annually. The Fowler Ridge and Meadow Lake facilities in northwestern Indiana already have 475 gigantic turbines on 75,000 acres; an additional 150 wind turbines are planned; and all are in the middle of prime Indiana bat habitat.
Even worse, long after the slaughter began, the USFWS is evaluating whether to grant Fowler Ridge a 22-year “incidental take” permit, so that the turbines can continue decimating bats – and the operators can continue being exempted from laws and penalties that apply to everyone else.
Other Wind Mortality
Of course, bats aren’t the only victims. Numerous rare, vital and endangered bird species are also at risk from wind turbines – including whooping cranes, hawks, falcons, and bald and golden eagles.
To minimize public outrage over the eco-slaughter, Fish and Wildlife has changed its census methods for “whoopers” (to make it harder to calculate how many cranes have “gone missing” along their turbine-dotted Alberta-to-Texas migratory corridor); allows wind facility operators to use search methods that ensure that most dead and injured birds (and bats) will never be found; initiated a process to issue 30-year “incidental take” permits for killing bald and golden eagles; and refused to prosecute wind facility operators for annihilating birds and bats.
The proposed New Era Wind Farm in Minnesota will likely kill 8-14 bald eagles annually. It is yet another example of serious environmental impacts overlooked in the quest to “go green” and meet state “renewable” energy mandates – as though this wildlife destruction is “sustainable” or “acceptable.”
Projects like New Era or Shepherds Flat in Oregon also mean a person could be fined or jailed for possessing a feather from a bald eagle decapitated by a wind turbine – but the turbine operator would get off scot free.
A 2012 Spanish Ornithological Society study and 1993 studies in Germany and Sweden found that a typical wind turbine kills 333-1,000 birds and bats annually in Spain, up to 309 birds per year in Germany, and as many as 895 birds and bats in Sweden. World Council for Nature chairman Mark Duchamp estimates that turbines kill twice as many bats as birds.
That means the more than 40,000 turbines operating in the United States, often in or near important habitats, could easily be killing 13 million to 39 million birds and bats every year!
And yet, most environmentalist groups say nothing, and the Fish and Wildlife Service does nothing.
However, Georgia taxpayers must pay millions for bat studies – enriching researchers and reducing taxpayer wealth – to ensure that road projects do not disturb the flying mammals. Meanwhile, the state’s drivers and passengers must wait years for safety and other improvements to their highways.
Ironically, Indiana bats that are to be studied and protected in Georgia could get chopped in half en route by “Cuisinarts of the air” that Uncle Sam considers so holy the turbines must be safeguarded against endangered species laws, regardless of environmental costs.
As summer approaches, Americans should also consider what life will be like when windmills cause bat populations to crater. Freed of their natural predators, mosquitoes will thrive, and they have a much more unquenchable thirst for human blood than do bats of folklore and Dracula tales.
It’s high time that people’s safety – and truly devastating impacts on important bird and bat species – stopped taking a back seat to political agendas, crony corporatism, and folklore environmentalism.
– See more at: http://www.masterresource.org/2013/04/wind-power-bats-double-standard/#more-25050