For Immediate Release: June 6 , 2007
Wind Energy Regulations Needed to Protect Birds
(Washington, D.C.) The Energy Policy Reform and Revitalization Act, H.R. 2337, being marked up by the House Natural Resources Committee today at 11 a.m. includes language requiring new regulations for the siting, construction and operation by wind energy farms to avoid or minimize impacts to birds and bats. ABC supports the intent of this language and believes that the safeguards provided for by the bill are overdue.
Bird protection measures must become mandatory for wind energy projects because voluntary steps are being ignored by the wind energy industry. “Voluntary efforts to address the impacts of wind projects on birds and wildlife have been a failure,” said American Bird Conservancy’s (ABC) Dr. Michael Fry at a May 1 hearing before the House Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, and Oceans. “There has been much discussion and almost no real action on the part of the wind industry to resolve bird collision issues.”
According to the National Wind Coordinating Committee, wind energy projects are already killing between 30,000 and 60,000 birds per year, including Golden Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks, Burrowing Owls, Mourning Doves, and over 50 species of migratory songbirds. Given the projected growth rate of the wind industry, between 900,000 and 1.8 million birds will likely be killed per year by wind turbines by 2030 unless protective measures are implemented.
“With proper siting, operation, and monitoring, wind energy can provide clean, renewable energy for America’s future with minimal impacts to birds and bats,” said Dr. Fry. “ABC emphasizes that before approval and construction of new wind energy projects, potential risks to birds and bats should be evaluated through site analyses including assessments of bird and bat abundance, timing and magnitude of migration, and habitat use patterns.”
Wind energy project location, design, operation, and lighting should be carefully evaluated to prevent, or at least minimize, bird and bat mortality and adverse impacts through habitat fragmentation, disturbance, and site avoidance. Sites requiring special scrutiny include areas that are frequented by federally listed endangered species, known bird migration pathways, places where birds are highly concentrated, and locations that have landscape features known to attract large numbers of raptors. Once in operation, monitoring for migrating birds can allow facilities to be temporarily turned off to avoid major impacts.
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American Bird Conservancy is the only 501(c)(3) organization that works solely to conserve native wild birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. ABC acts to safeguard the rarest bird species, restore habitats, and reduce threats, while building capacity in the conservation movement. ABC is the voice for birds, ensuring that they are adequately protected; that sufficient funding is available for bird conservation; and that land is protected and properly managed to maintain viable habitat. ABC is a membership organization that is consistently awarded a top, four-star rating by the independent group, Charity Navigator.