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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Proposed Wind Turbine Restrictions

As I sit here in my house, with the wild geese outside my window yammering at a pelican who flew into the back pond (pelicans might eat small goslings), I find it hard to grasp the mindset that would decide that wind power is a major threat to birds. Believe me, wind power is not a significant threat to any bird population. The house I live in is far more threat to wild birds than any wind turbine I might put up. Pollution is a threat to birds. Wind turbines are very similar to the impact of trees for birds, and they are well adapted to cope with trees. Wind sheer can cause birds to be blown into lines, trees, buildings and mountainsides. But birds do not normally fly into windmills or any type of wind turbine.

Link to bill. First article. Second article says pressure might be working:
Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick Rahal, D-W.Va., had put into an energy bill a requirement that the Interior Department regulate the siting and operation of energy wind turbines to ensure the safety of wildlife.

His action unleashed intense lobbying by the wind industry and renewable energy advocates, who argued that such restrictions would stop wind farm development at a time when wind is viewed as the most viable renewable alternative to fossil fuels and nuclear power for producing electricity.

As his committee began final crafting of the energy package Wednesday, Rahal relented and agreed to support, instead, a less-sweeping measure offered by Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass. It calls on the Interior Department to develop "guidelines" for protection of wildlife from wind turbines, not regulations.
The first thing to understand is that this would require an individual property owner to have to do an environmental site survey to install one single danged windmill. Anyone who had them already would have to have them certified, and would then have to have them recertified every three years. In the annals of the stupid and outrageous, this is a contender for the top place. Below is the actual proposed text of the section that deals with wind power, including a fine of $50,000 or a year in prison for each windmill or turbine:
Subtitle D--Ensuring Safety of Wildlife With Respect to Wind Energy

SEC. 231. STANDARDS AND REQUIREMENTS.

(a) In General- Within 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary, acting through the Director and after public notice and opportunity to comment, shall promulgate regulations that establish minimum standards for siting, construction, monitoring, and adaptive management that must be satisfied by all wind projects to avoid, minimize, and mitigate adverse impacts on migratory birds, bats, and other wildlife.

(b) New Wind Projects- Such standards shall, for all wind projects that have not been constructed before the date of enactment of this Act, include at a minimum the following:

(1) PRECONSTRUCTION SURVEYS- Requirements for comprehensive preconstruction surveys that are of sufficient duration and scope to reasonably evaluate the extent to which a particular site is used by migratory birds, bats, and other wildlife, including species listed as endangered species or threatened species under section 4 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973(16 U.S.C. 1533) and the potential cumulative impact that a proposed wind project would have on such wildlife in combination with other existing or proposed wind projects. Such requirements shall provide that surveys must be carried out by scientific teams that include independent scientists and that the Director may obtain reasonable access to the proposed construction site to ensure that survey protocols are being properly developed and implemented.

(2) SITING- Standards for siting wind projects for which construction has not begun so as to avoid impacts, including cumulative impacts, on birds, bats, and other wildlife to the greatest extent practicable based on data gathered during preconstruction surveys required under paragraph (1), including--

(A) the avoidance of ecologically sensitive areas of importance to wildlife, such as migration corridors, wetlands, and other habitats where wildlife congregate; hibernation, breeding, and nursery areas; and critical habitats of endangered species and threatened species, and

(B) siting and configuring wind turbines to avoid landscape and other features known to attract wildlife.

(3) CONSTRUCTION AND OPERATION- Requirements for the construction and operation of wind projects so that they minimize impacts on birds, bats, and other wildlife to the greatest extent practicable, including by--

(A) incorporating the best available technology for minimizing such impacts, and

(B) operating such projects in a manner that minimizes impacts on birds, bats, and other wildlife.

(4) POST-CONSTRUCTION MONITORING- Requirements for thorough post-construction monitoring of the actual impacts, including cumulative impacts, that wind projects are having on birds, bats, and other wildlife, including standards and protocols for transmitting all monitoring data and findings to the Director for consideration of cumulative impacts and dissemination to the public. Such requirements shall provide that monitoring must be carried out by scientific teams that include independent scientists, and that the Director may obtain access at any time to the site to ensure that monitoring protocols are being properly developed and implemented.

(5) ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT- Requirements for adaptive management of wind projects if the impacts of such projects on birds, bats, and other wildlife exceed predicted impacts, including requirements that a wind project operator shall--

(A) take steps to reduce such impacts to the levels predicted prior to operation; or

(B) suspend operations if such steps are not, or cannot be, taken.

(6) OFFSET OF UNAVOIDABLE IMPACTS- Requirements that wind projects offset any unavoidable impacts, including cumulative impacts, on birds, bats, and other wildlife through the acquisition, conservation, or restoration of mitigation habitat, the funding of research that will be of value in conserving affected wildlife, and other appropriate measures.

(c) Existing Projects- Such standards shall, for all wind projects that have begun operation before the date of enactment of this Act, include at a minimum appropriate requirements for monitoring, adaptive management, and offset of unavoidable impacts mitigation for adverse impacts on birds, bats, and other wildlife, consistent with paragraphs (4) through (6) of subsection (b).

SEC. 232. CERTIFICATION OF COMPLIANCE.

(a) Certification Requirement-

(1) IN GENERAL- No person may construct or operate a wind project unless the Director has issued a certification that the project will be constructed and operated in compliance with the standards promulgated under section 231.

(2) APPLICATION- Paragraph (1) shall apply--

(A) in the case of a wind power project that began operating before the date of enactment of this Act, beginning at the end of the 180-day period beginning on the date the Director promulgates regulations under subsection (b); and

(B) in the case of a wind power project that has not been constructed before the date of enactment of this Act, beginning on such date of enactment.

(b) Applications-

(1) IN GENERAL- Within 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Director, after public notice and opportunity to comment, shall promulgate regulations that establish procedures for issuing certifications under this section.

(2) CONTENTS- Such regulations shall--

(A) include requirements for submitting an application for certification under this section, including requirements for the contents of such applications;

(B) provide for advance public comment on each application for certification and on the conditions that should be attached to such a certification; and

(C) require that such applications address in detail how the project will be constructed and operated in compliance with all applicable standards promulgated under section 231.

(c) Renewal of Certification- Regulations under subsection (b) shall--

(1) require that each certification under this section must be renewed at least once every three years;

(2) establish procedures and requirements applicable to such renewal applications; and

(3) provide for advance public notice and comment regarding each application for renewal.

SEC. 233. PENALTIES.

A person who violates this subtitle or a regulation issued under this subtitle is subject to a fine of not more than $50,000, or imprisonment of not more than one year, or both.

SEC. 234. RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER STATUTES.

Nothing in this subtitle affects the application of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Bald Eagle Protection Act, the Golden Eagle Protection Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1973, National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, or any other relevant Federal law to wind projects.

SEC. 235. DEFINITIONS.

As used in this subtitle:

(1) DIRECTOR- The term `Director' means the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, or a designee of that Director.

(2) INDEPENDENT SCIENTIST- The term `independent scientist' mean a scientist who is not an employee of, or regular consultant to, the wind power industry.

(3) SECRETARY- The term `Secretary' means the Secretary of the Interior.

(4) WIND PROJECT- The term `wind project' means any project in the United States that uses wind to generate electric power.
You have to watch these sneaky Congress Critters every danged moment. No, I do not have a wind turbine. I have investigated them, however. It is a clean, non-polluting source of energy that would be absolutely no threat to any of the animals and birds, endangered or otherwise, who live on this small refuge.



Comments:
Is the verbiage you quoted from the original version, or the Markey modification?
 
The original. Markey is supposed to be voted on today in committee, I think.

I can't find the text of the Markey version.
 
Sorry for an off-topic comment but I was wondering if you were going to post about the latest Federal Reserve credit report. Your post last month on the subject was the most insightful I came across so I'm curious to read your take on it.
Thanks, Kevin
 
How about tomorrow? The short answer is that credit is slowly correcting to where it should be, but the whole explanation is LONG.
 
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