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Press Release: Save The River Calls for a Halt on Wind Energy Development Due to Environmental Concerns

August 4th, 2010 | Posted by admin

Clayton, NY (August 4, 2010) – Save The River is urging local municipalities bordering the Upper St. Lawrence River in the U.S. and Canada to implement a three year moratorium on wind project development. The move was taken after careful review of recent data showing potentially high avian and bat mortality from the first six months of operation of the Wolfe Island Wind project, the only operating wind project in the region.

Additionally, Save The River is calling for a cumulative assessment of bird and bat mortality and other environmental impacts for wind development in the Upper St. Lawrence River valley, coordinated by agencies in the US and Canada. The assessment should consider two regional scenarios, one for 500 wind turbines and the other for 1,000 wind turbines.

“The initial high avian and bat mortality documented at the Wolfe Island Wind Project along with the lack of any cumulative impact assessment for wind projects proposed within the St. Lawrence valley, demand a ‘wait and see’ response from decision makers in the communities that are now involved with examining environmental impact studies from wind developers,” stated Save The River in a position paper detailing the rationale for the moratorium and cumulative assessment.

Several factors influenced the call for a moratorium on wind energy development in the region including:

• The St. Lawrence River valley contains one of the most unique and substantial grassland habitats in eastern North America, which is home to specialized bird populations and provides critical foraging habitat for a variety of raptor species. This habitat is increasingly scarce due to development pressure and further threatened by wind energy development.

• The Indiana Bat, a federally listed endangered species, has been identified as a resident in several communities slated for wind energy projects. The scientific community has expressed growing concern regarding the potential for bat kills and population declines given the rapid proliferation of wind power facilities and the large-scale mortality that has occurred at some facilities.

• No agencies have begun to assess the cumulative impacts of the more than 6 projects proposed along the Upper St. Lawrence River and, as a result, little if anything is known about the cumulative impacts of these projects on the River ecosystem. Nor has any cross-border coordination with Canada occurred, resulting in a lack of information for agencies assessing project impacts.

“Without a full picture of the impacts of wind energy development along the Upper St. Lawrence River, it is irresponsible to move forward with the wind projects currently in development at this time,” stated Save The River Executive Director Jennifer Caddick. “Communities along the St. Lawrence River have worked hard to protect the River’s water quality and wildlife for many years. A precautionary approach is the only way to ensure that the St. Lawrence River ecosystem remains vibrant and healthy.”

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Read Save The River’s full position statement.

For more information, contact Stephanie Weiss, Save The River Assistant Director at (315) 686-2010 or stephanie@savetheriver.org

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