Outdoors: Birds remain in the crosshairs as wind energy debate continues
- Jan 24, 2022 4:26 pm GMT
It took the
"The wing was ripped off," said
"It was definitely a turbine strike."
Wind turbines and their propensity for taking down birds, bats, and bald eagles remain one of the primary sticking points in the lengthy debate and legal arm twisting over the proposed placement of six turbines nearly 500 feet tall in
"At its core, the location that was chosen for the project is absolutely inappropriate," Merriman said. "This is a very important area for migratory birds — birds that migrate over the lake at night. The most important aspect of minimizing wind energy's impact on birds is just putting turbines in the right place to begin with, and this is the wrong place."
Icebreaker Wind would be the first offshore wind facility in the
Nearly five years ago, the
Two condominium owners along the lakefront also have filed a legal challenge to the project, and
"We've been involved in
Beyond the potential loss of many birds and bats to the array of 200-foot-long whirring turbine blades, the foundation has specific concerns about the disruption to the lake floor and how major construction projects would exacerbate the lake's chronic environmental problems.
"There are a lot of legacy issues out in the lake, with phosphorus and heavy metals and other caustic materials. If we stir up the bottom of the lake, it is hard to imagine that not having a very negative impact," Stouffer said. "We have come so far since the
Stouffer said he would expect to see hundreds of wind turbines placed in the
"If you peel back the onion, you are looking at potentially 75 square miles of wind farm out in the lake," he said. "We are sensitive to all of the issues involved with Icebreaker, the magnitude of the decisions that are made relative to this project, and the real cost of it. The upside has always been stressed by those promoting this, but the potential downside has not been brought out in the light of day. There has been a lack of transparency with the facts."
That position is shared by
Shieldcastle has long contended that Icebreaker has not done the proper studies that would be required to determine the potential impact the project might have on birds and the lake.
"They are putting on a full-court press publicly to get some funding, but despite what Icebreaker is saying, everything is not in line," he said, adding that pre-construction radar work out on the lake and developing an apparatus for post-construction monitoring of the site's impact on wildlife have not been addressed.
Email and phone messages sent to LeedCo president
"Before a project of this size and importance, you need to have a detailed environmental impact study, not a cursory assessment like they have done," he said. "You need to collect sound science and then see where the data takes us. We are not against wind power — it is all about the siting — and with sound science and transparency you would have a much better handle on what is good, safe siting of wind turbines."
Shieldcastle said his decades of experience working along the lake have convinced him that many birds and bats are crossing the lake and that bats could be impacted significantly. Bats, including the endangered
Cleveland.com reported there is
"Their plans are usually half-baked and poorly researched, but money is always the driver and whether it is grants or subsidies, it's our tax money and it's coming out of our pockets," he said. "They claim these projects will be great for jobs and schools and the economy, but that's not true. They are salesmen — that's what they do best."
Shieldcastle continues to insist on the need for better research before any such wind energy project begins construction.
"We know these turbines are going to kill some birds and bats, but at what level — that is one of the big unknowns," he said. "The studies they have relied on so far are just insufficient, faulty, and inaccurate. We have found multiple places where they have underestimated the potential mortality, and that is not acceptable science."
(c)2022 The Blade (Toledo, Ohio)
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