Our friend Sue who lives in Erie County, New York, just passed along
following AP Story. Sue's new home is one of 300 homes in a 12 square mile
area where Zilkha will install at least 34 wind turbines if local authorities
"Md. Aims to Save Birds From Wind Turbines
By DAVID DISHNEAU Associated Press Writer
"HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) - State regulators want to require developers
two proposed wind power plants in western Maryland to shut down the
giant turbines during periods when the whirling blades could kill large
numbers of migratory birds.
"The condition, apparently the first of its kind in the nation, is aimed
at balancing the interests of wildlife advocates and wind power
developers, who are racing to build the plants by Dec. 31, 2003, when a
federal tax incentive expires.
"'We are supporting both plants on an expedited schedule but we are
building in contingencies in the event there are problems,' Paul
Massicot, director of the Department of Natural Resources' Resource
Assessment Services division said Wednesday. 'The last thing we want to
happen at a wind energy plant is a big environmental problem.'
"One of the companies, U.S. Wind Force of Baden, Pa., has agreed to
down its proposed windmill farm for up to 18 hours a year if the 25
turbines are found to kill more than 200 birds or bats per windmill in a
24-hour period, president Thomas Matthews said.
"The other company, Clipper Windpower of Carpinteria, Calif., is in
with the DNR about the agency's proposed condition requiring shutdowns
of up to 53.7 hours a year if Clipper's planned 67 turbines are found to
kill the same number, Kevin Rackstraw, the company's director of East
Coast development, said.
"'We're trying to move things along and we want to be as cooperative
we can,' Rackstraw said.
"The shutdowns would likely occur for several hours at time during
periods when the threat to wildlife is greatest, Massicot said.
"He said the shutdown period proposed for Clipper was longer because
scientists believe there is more bird activity at that project's
location, atop Backbone Mountain, Maryland's highest ridge.
"Both projects are awaiting approval by the state Public Service
Commission. Public hearings are scheduled Jan. 7 for the Clipper project
and Jan. 14 for the U.S. Wind Power project.
"Massicot agreed with both developers that there is no reason to expect
significant bird mortality at either site. However, bird and bat deaths
have been associated with wind farms and communications towers
elsewhere, especially on overcast nights when migrating birds,
apparently lost without the stars, tend to circle lighted towers,
"Because of the approaching tax deadline, state regulators chose to
recommend that bird mortality be monitored after the plants are built
rather than holding off on construction until more studies are done,
"The Sierra Club urges the opposite approach, Charles Garlow, energy
chairman of the environmental group's Maryland chapter, said.
"'The official position of the Maryland Sierra Club is that the Maryland
Department of Natural Resources oppose granting of the permits until
such time as more comprehensive studies of the potential bird impact be
completed,' Garlow said.
"State House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr., an Allegany County Democrat,
called the shutdown provisions "asinine" in a story published Wednesday
in the Cumberland Times-News. Taylor, who lost the November election and
is leaving office next month, said overzealous bird protection could
hamper future development of such projects."
Maryland Public Service Commission: http://www.psc.state.md.us/psc
Clipper Windpower: http://www.clipperwind.com
Sierra Club, Maryland: http://maryland.sierraclub.org/
Md. Aims To Save Birds From Wind Turbines