This very important letter by Ajax Eastman, which we are honored to present, has been submitted to the Baltimore Sun in response to their report on a Federal Court suit regarding a proposed industrial wind facility in Greenbrier County, West Virginia.
Ms. Eastman is an environmental activist and consultant of long – standing. She has been instrumental with passage of Wildland designation of forests in Western Maryland. She holds leadership positions on the Maryland Conservation Council, Inc., the Maryland Environmental Trust, and the Maryland Wildland Committee. She travels extensively throughout the world.
Ms. Eastman is highly regarded in Maryland and the surrounding region as an honest spokesperson for the environmental community.
This morning’s article “Clean energy vs. nature” pits the tiny Indian bat against 122 wind turbines, 389 feet tall on an Appalachian ridge in West Virginia. Bats are not the only species endangered by the rush to build so-called clean or green energy.
With thousands of industrial wind turbines envisioned all along the mountain ridges of the Eastern United States, mostly along the corridors of migrating bats, song birds, and raptors, the death knell would be more like a massacre. Additionally, there would be enormous loss of terrestrial wildlife and habitats. Unfragmented forests along the ridges that are vital to interior species would have giant holes punched into them for not only the turbines, but for roads and power line towers.
At another proposed facility in West Virginia, the Pinnacle Wind Farm in Mineral County, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has discredited the wildlife studies submitted by the applicant. It specifically finds fault with the applicant’s risk assessment for golden eagles pointing out that there is a high risk of mortality to eagles.
The Migratory Bird Treaty Act prohibits the taking, killing, injuring, or capture of listed migratory birds. Bald and Golden Eagles are further protected under a separate U.S. Protection Act. You would think that between these two Acts that the Eagles would be protected. However, the USF&W just published new regulations that allow for applications for the kind of “take” (meaning killing) anticipated at wind power facilities.
The service will work with the applicant to avoid and minimize the killing, but most of their recommendations are for studies after the turbines are built and in operation.
How can an agency given authority to protect endangered species turn around and allow the killing of bats and eagles to happen?