Wind power a viable option
To the editor:
Your Jan. 13 editorial "Not All Birds Equal" draws a parallel between the regulation of wind farms with respect to birds and that of hydro dams with respect to fish. The differences, however, are considerably greater than your editorial reflects.
First, wind power is not a major source of human-related eagle
mortality. The wind industry deeply regrets that eagles are killed
occasionally at wind farms, and is doing more to analyze these impacts
and find ways to reduce them than any other mortality source. However,
based on existing publicly available data, wind energy appears to be
responsible for less than 1 percent of human-related eagle fatalities,
ranking well below lead poisoning (from eating prey that has been shot
by hunters), poisoning in general, illegal shooting, electrocutions on
and collisions with power lines (specifically, smaller distribution
lines that serve fossil fuel production areas), collisions with
vehicles, and even drownings in livestock watering tanks. As with
mortality of birds and other wildlife, the wind power industry is
taking even its relatively low impacts seriously and working
proactively and cooperatively to find ways to further reduce them.
Second, while I can't speak to the action or inaction of other
industries on this front, the wind energy industry is working with the
Fish and Wildlife Service, state wildlife officials, and conservation
organizations to properly site wind projects and reduce its impacts.
That proactive cooperation is the primary reason waw enforcement
actions have not been taken to date against wind farms.
No energy source, or human activity for that matter, is completely
benign. Regardless of how we decide to power our society, there will be
some impacts. Studies that compare the impacts of different energy
sources consistently find wind power's impact among the lowest-not
surprising given that it requires no mining or drilling for fuel, uses
virtually no water, and creates no air pollution, water pollution,
greenhouse gases, or hazardous waste.
Director of Siting Policy
American Wind Energy Association