Letters to the Editor for Jan. 23, 2012

By Jayson Jacoby / The Baker City Herald

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.

John Anderson

Director of Siting Policy

American Wind Energy Association

Washington, D.C.

13114827
The Baker City Herald
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