American Bird Conservancy & Black Swamp Bird Observatory Put Poorly Sited Wind Project on Notice
Dear bird conservation partner:
This is a brief message to inform you of an impending action that American Bird Conservancy (ABC) is taking in collaboration with the Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO), to stop a poorly-sited wind energy project at Camp Perry, Ohio, near the southern shore of Lake Erie. ABC and BSBO, through their legal counsel, Washington, DC-based Myers, Glitzenstein and Crystal, are issuing a letter of intent to sue over this project, which is located in the center of one of the largest and most important bird migration bottlenecks in the United States and which has the potential to impact endangered Kirtland’s Warblers and Piping Plovers, and well as Bald Eagles and other federally-protected migratory bird species. The south shore of Lake Erie is also the location of a major birding event, attracting tens of thousands of people annually, and injecting $37 million into the local economy.
Despite serious concerns expressed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), Ohio DNR, and many conservation organizations – including several Bird Conservation Alliance members – about the impacts of this project on protected birds, the Ohio Air National Guard has forged ahead regardless. In addition, they have refused to have an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) conducted or to go through Section 7 consultation as strongly recommended by the FWS. Many other wind projects are proposed for this area, which has been designated Red (“Critical Importance”) on ABC’s wind map (http://www.abcbirds.org/extra/index_wind.html), an area in which wind energy development is highly undesirable from the perspective of bird conservation.
ABC and BSBO therefore believe that this project must be challenged, as it represents a clear case of the failure of voluntary permitting guidelines for wind energy development to protect our nation’s public trust resources under the Endangered Species Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Furthermore, this is occurring at a federally-owned facility, which would set a bad precedent for wind development on both public and private lands in this region.
ABC and BSBO want to send a message to other wind developers in the area that any project in this highly sensitive area for bird conservation is going to be under intense public scrutiny, and at the very least, must go through appropriate permitting processes before being approved. Given the huge number of protected birds passing though this area annually, we believe that is unlikely that any wind developer can demonstrate a “no significant impact” finding or mitigate its potential impact on federally protected birds. ABC and BSBO believe there are areas where no wind energy development should be allowed due to the unacceptable risk to protected birds and bats; the south shore of Lake Erie is one of those areas.
If you’d like to examine a copy of the ABC/BSBO letter of intent to sue, please see http://www.abcbirds.org/PDFs/camp_perry_letter_and_exhibits.pdf
If you would also like to express your concern to the Ohio Air National Guard at Camp Perry via e-mail at email@example.com or via mail to:
Col. Michael P. Skomrock, OHANG
Department of the Army and Air Force
National Guard Bureau
200th Red Horse Squadron
Camp Perry ANG Station
Port Clinton, OH 43452-9577
Michael Hutchins, Ph.D.
National Coordinator, Bird Smart Wind Energy Campaign
American Bird Conservancy
(202) 234-7181, x212 (O); (301) 367-5053 (M); (202) 234-7182 (Fax)
Senior Policy Advisor
American Bird Conservancy &
Director, Bird Conservation Alliance
202-234-7181 ext. 216