Fed wind farm rules may not save birds

May 10, 2010 at 5:01 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, May 10 (UPI) -- The American Bird Conservancy says it fears proposed voluntary guidelines for wind farms will not prevent the deaths of birds by the turbines.

ABC President George Fenwick said Monday he sent letters to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Bureau of Land Management Director Bob Abbey identifying key shortcomings in recent federal plans to address the affects of wind farms on birds.

"I find it ironic that the Interior Department is asking us to believe that the wind industry will follow voluntary guidelines when their own land management agency is not even doing so," Fenwick said.

Fenwick said the Fish and Wildlife Wind Advisory Committee has made excellent recommendations for the generation of wind power that the conservancy wants adopted throughout the federal government. But Fenwick said the major shortcoming in the recommendations is that they are proposed as voluntary, rather than mandatory, and as such will do little to curb unacceptable levels of bird mortality and habitat loss at wind farms.

"The notion that the wind industry is predominantly made up of small, environmentally conscious operations is one that must be quickly dispelled," Fenwick said. "These are large, corporate-scale utility companies, not unlike coal and oil conglomerates … with a checkered environmental track record to date. Voluntary guidelines will not change that paradigm, and will work about as well as voluntary taxes."

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