Articles filed under Impact on Wildlife

Missouri’s largest wind farm is idle at night for fear of killing endangered animals

“To be clear, the High Prairie Wind Farm has been curtailed from before dusk to after dawn since April 19, 2021,” Geoff Marke, chief economist for the Missouri Office of the Public Counsel said in sworn testimony filed last week with the Missouri Public Service Commission. Ameren halted night operations for several weeks this spring after four bats, which are nocturnal, and 52 birds, including a bald eagle, were discovered dead on the property, according to a report submitted to federal wildlife officials.
9 Sep 2021

Clean energy doesn’t always create synergy

[S]ome fear that this project and others in the planning stage could also irreparably harm Massachusetts fishing and lobstering industries in the vicinity of these turbine sites. But that didn’t stop the Biden administration, as part of its aggressive offshore wind and renewable-energy agenda, from issuing final permits for Vineyard Wind in May. It’s evident that not all green-conscious activists believe wind power’s the optimum clean-energy solution.
29 Aug 2021

Is it Cape Wind all over again? Nantucket residents file suit to block Vineyard Wind

Concerns about the fate of the right whale, whose population is dwindling, are not new. The downturn in the whale population is already happening without any wind farms being built, primarily because the whales are being hit by boats or becoming ensnared in fishing nets. Still, officials from 17 prominent environmental groups wrote a letter to the National Marine Fisheries Service in September 2020 raising concerns that regulators were failing to protect environmentally endangered mammals, including right whales, in their review of offshore wind projects. It’s unclear whether any changes were made in response to the letter; efforts to reach two of the signers were unsuccessful.  Erica Fuller of the Conservation Law Foundation in Boston did not return calls over a two-day period.
26 Aug 2021

Federal review of Vineyard Wind 'botched,' lawsuit alleges

The group, Nantucket Residents Against Turbines, says the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and National Marine Fisheries failed to ensure that Vineyard Wind would not jeopardize the survival of federally listed critically endangered species like the North Atlantic right whale. The suit also names Interior Secretary Debra Haaland and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. "The North Atlantic right whale is on the verge of extinction. However, one of its longtime safe havens – where there is ample food and protective areas for birthing and rearing young – is the area immediately south-southwest of Nantucket Island," the lawsuit reads.
26 Aug 2021

'Industrialization of our oceans': Nantucket residents sue feds over Vineyard Winds project

Little is known about the impact offshore wind could have on wildlife. Scientists across the country agree we need to be monitoring its potential impacts, though it’s not consistently studied across the country. “I believe strongly in responsible development of offshore wind. I think it is a key to fighting climate change,” said Jessica Redfern, a senior scientist at the New England Aquarium. “What’s critically important is that it is responsibly developed and to have responsible development, we need to continue monitoring and understanding species numbers, understanding a species that are in the area, how long they’re there.” 
26 Aug 2021

Final report on South Fork Wind Farm cautions of impacts to fishing industry

The agency said negative impacts to commercial and recreational fishing would be “major” and found there would be “minor to moderate” beneficial impacts in terms of jobs and investment in the local economy. The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) on the project, released on BOEM’s website Monday, Aug. 16, examines the potential environmental impacts of the proposal to build up to 15 wind turbines and an offshore substation in federal waters about 35 miles off the coast of Montauk. BOEM says in the FEIS that it prefers an alternative proposal to protect habitat by carefully siting just 11 turbines there.
18 Aug 2021

Desert tortoise deaths near new Nevada solar farm draw study

A team of biologists relocated 139 tortoises from their habitat to make way for the solar panels in the Yellow Pine Solar Project, one of four large solar energy developments initiated in Southern Nevada. ...In a span of a few weeks, 30 tortoises were killed, possibly by badgers. Conservationists believe relocation stress made the reptiles vulnerable and drought caused badgers to look for new sources of prey. Wildlife experts are still looking into the exact cause.
7 Aug 2021

Right Whales increase activity in ocean waters slated for offshore wind farms

Between December and May, almost a quarter of the right whale population may be present in the region, and the individual residence time for whales has increased to 13 days during the period, the study states. Visual and acoustic monitoring, from flight surveys and photography, showed consistent use of the wind energy area by a third of the species, including 30 per cent of breeding females. The study was funded by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the federal agency responsible for permitting offshore wind development, as well as the state Clean Energy Center.
2 Aug 2021

Right whales increase activity in ocean waters Slated for offshore wind farms

Conducted by scientists with NOAA Fisheries, the New England Aquarium and the Center for Coastal Studies using aerial survey data from 2011 through 2019, the study found that 327 unique right whales have been spotted in the waters of southern New England, making the area a crucial habitat for a species teetering on the edge of extinction. Scientists estimate the North Atlantic right whale population at less than 400 total specimens, including approximately 100 breeding females.
2 Aug 2021

The strange case of the climate scientists fighting a wind farm

The island is a special protection area, meaning it was selected by the ecological network of NATURA and its birds directive to protect one or more rare, threatened, or vulnerable bird species or specific regularly occurring migratory species. A report the HOS published in March 2020 found that erecting wind turbines will have detrimental consequences for Antikythera’s biodiversity. Among the impacts, the group found that fatigued birds reaching the island after having crossed the Mediterranean could be killed by the wind turbines or avoid the island altogether and eventually die from exhaustion further out to sea.
22 Jul 2021

Solar power’s land grab hits a snag: Environmentalists

Across the U.S., more than 800 utility-scale solar projects are under contract to generate nearly 70,000 megawatts of new capacity ...More than half this capacity is being planned for the American Southwest, with its abundance of sunshine and open land. These large projects are increasingly drawing opposition from environmental activists and local residents who say they are ardent supporters of clean energy. Their objections range from a desire to keep the land unspoiled to protection for endangered species to concerns that their views would no longer be as beautiful.
4 Jun 2021

Addo wind farm approval is surprising

With all the socioeconomic and environmental positives that come with having a protected space for the animals to live and roam freely — albeit within a fenced area — it is surprising that a proposal to erect a wind farm within the 10km buffer zone of the park was approved by the department of forestry, fisheries and the environment. Though it is being appealed, the fact that the project may interfere with the elephants’ ability to communicate with each other, according to conservation lobby groups, is a cause for concern.
1 Jun 2021

Biologists clearing 3,000-acre desert area of tortoises

A fleet of consulting desert tortoise biologists have been sweeping the 3,000-acre Yellow Pine Solar Project site near Pahrump with shovels to move as many protected desert tortoises out of harm’s way as possible before the site is converted to millions of solar panels, according to the press release by Basin and Range Watch, a nonprofit working to conserve the deserts of Nevada and California.
9 May 2021

N.J. fishing groups worry offshore wind will adversely affect their industry: ‘This is our farmland’

They worry that wind farms with their soaring turbines could disrupt fish habitat, reroute fishing lanes, and force sport anglers farther out to sea. Lackner, of Montauk, N.Y., believes that the farms will narrow the currently wide-open pathways to the vessel he docks at Cape May so often that he calls it his second home. “We’ll have to tow in between turbines while dragging a quarter mile of gear,” Lackner said. “We’ll be passing boats, as our gear drifts. ... It’s not good to jump right into wind in such a big way.”
19 Apr 2021

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