Wind Project puts bald eagles in danger

Industrial wind not held accountable for violating the Golden and Bald Eagle Protection Act.
Powered by Blogger.
Concerns about wind energy killing protected wildlife

Concerned Citizens About Wind Energy

A number of concerns have been raised by locals affected by the turbines, including: stray voltage, noise levels, wildlife impact (protected eagles), and shadow flicker.

Wind Energy Concerns
Local citizens document bald eagle siting

Local Citizens Value Bald Eagle Siting

Eight or more bald eagle nests have been documented and photographed by local citizens who follow their return to raise their young each year. Wind energy adds risk to their existence.

Wind Energy Concerns
Wind Energy Laws weak on protecting wildlife

Wind Energy Laws

Federal Department of the Interior suggests now guidelines for protecting wildlife affected by industrial wind farming. Turbine blades are killing wildlife.

Wind Energy Laws
Coalition for Sensible Siting cares how wind energy alters  our environments


Industrial wind energy and local residents concerns for the environment around the turbines. What does stay voltage caused by wind energy do?


Turbines Killing Millions of Wandering Birds

If you pay taxes or use electricity, you may want to know that turbines, labeled "green energy" are killing wildlife. Bats and other flying wildlife are necessary for crop pollination.

Turbines Killing Birds
High cost of green energy

Wind Energy Costs

Wind’s high cost to rate payers is only compared to other wind projects, not to base load electrical sources

Wind Energy Costs

Mouse Fire in Enxco's Chanarambie Wind Turbine

  • Monday, March 24, 2014
  • by
  • Eagle Siting
  • Enxco filed an "extraordinary event" report with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission today. Mice got into the electrical equipment, caused an electrical arc and lit the turbine on fire. Mice happen - they get into places we would rather they did not. It is interesting to know a mouse can take out a giant industrial turbine. However, consistent with almost all turbine disaster reports, the wind project managers found out about the problem when a local resident called them.

    "At approximately 9:00 AM on December 2, 2013 a local farmer notified the Operations Manager that smoke was observed coming from the access door and the nacelle on turbine #35."

    Citizens with wind company experience know that developers constantly poo-poo any concerns about safety issues. The consistent, and obviously misleading, marketing message is that 'any time there is ANY operational problem, the SCADA system will automatically shut down the turbine operation and notify the managers'.

    Yet, reports of turbine fire, noisy mechanical malfunction, "uncontrolled operation", and "component liberation", repeatedly state that the wind company found out about the wreck because a citizen called them. In other cases, the turbine maintenance staff "found the turbine lying on the ground" when they came to work in the morning.

    No automatic shut down. No notice from the supposed turbine monitoring system to the company.

    Why is that?


    Pioneer Green Energy - What Wildlife?

  • Sunday, March 9, 2014
  • by
  • Eagle Siting

  • Pioneer Green Energy seems determined to site industrial wind projects in ecologically sensitive areas with low wind resources. Four projects proposed in three States have one thing in common – rare, threatened or endangered and protected wildlife.   
    US Wind Resource Map at 80 meters

    Pennsylvania’s North EastTownship, on Lake Erie, is targeted for 50-75 giant wind turbines.   Erie County has the highest number of rare, threatened, and endangered species of any county in Pennsylvania. Many are associated with unique habitats that can be found at Presque Isle and French Creek and are found nowhere else in the state. Also located on the Atlantic migratory bird flyway, this wind project puts all birds, including recently sighted snowy owls, at risk. The high wind resource area in southwestern Minnesota, called Buffalo Ridge, showed a 47% loss of raptors immediately and continuing ten years after turbines started operating. 

    In Maryland, Pioneer Green’s Great Bay Wind Center is seeking the nation’s first 30-year bald eagle “take” permit.  The federal permit assures Wall Street investors that they won’t be prosecuted for killing America’s symbol of freedom. While claiming three years of eagle study, no data has been released for public scrutiny. Even so, preliminary federal estimates are that this project could slaughter 20 bald eagles per year directly across the Chesapeake Bay from our nation’s Capitol.  In a telephone conversation last month, Pioneer Green Vice President Adam Cohen revealed that Somerset County was targeted for its access to transmission.  The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuarine system in the contiguous United States, and is at the eastern end of the Atlantic migratory flyway.

    In Alabama, Pioneer Green’s Shinbone and Noccalula projects are both situated on scenic ridges that are home to the federally endangered Indiana Bat and Gray Bat.  Bats are attracted to turbines and die both from strikes and barotrauma – blood vessels in their lungs explode from flying too close to the turbines.  Pioneer Green publically promised last fall to release the wildlife data they claim to have gathered for these two projects, but has not been forthcoming.  

    Despite scant evidence, the wind industry claims that the super-sized turbines being proposed by Pioneer Green, will work in these low wind areas. What they fail to mention is the increased size of the rotor swept area – the turbine kill-zone for birds. Slaughtering birds and bats in critical habitats and migratory flyways speaks volumes about the character of Pioneer Green.   

    The Coalition for Sensible Siting thanks the citizens of Alabama, Maryland and Pennsylvania for alerting us to Pioneer Green's activities. We notice with irony that Pioneer Green Energy's first listed criteria for their wind projects is "Identify smart sites for new projects." 



    Solutions That Can't Work for a Problem That Does Not Exist

  • Friday, August 2, 2013
  • by
  • Eagle Siting
  • Climate alarmism’s 10,000 commandments
    EPA fiats threaten American lives, livelihoods, living standards and life spans
    Paul Driessen
    The United States will “do more,” before it’s “too late” to prevent “dangerous” global warming, President Obama told Berliners last week. If Congress won’t act, he will, by regulating carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, increasing subsidies and reduce environmental overview for wind and solar projects on federal lands, and issuing other rules that will adversely affect economic growth and job creation.
    Indeed, his Environmental Protection Agency is already devising new rules that will sharply curtail carbon dioxide emissions, by regulating thousands of facilities that use hydrocarbon energy – and thus ultimately almost everything Americans make, grow, ship, eat and do.
    However, the manmade global warming “disasters” exist only in computer models and assertions by scientists who are addicted to billions in government Climate Armageddon grants. Moreover, the “preventative measures” are far worse than the disasters EPA claims to be preventing.
    Even the most diehard alarmists have finally recognized that average global temperatures have hardly budged since 1997, even as atmospheric levels of plant-fertilizing CO2 climbed steadily. For many areas, the past winter was among the coldest in decades; the USA and Britain just recorded one their coldest springs on record; and satellite data show that Earth has actually cooled slightly since 2002.
    The frequency and severity of hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and droughts are no different from observed trends and cycles over the last century. 2012 set records for the fewest strong tornadoes since 1954 and the number of years with no category 3 or higher hurricane making US landfall. (The vicious tornadoes of recent weeks underscore how quickly the weather can swing back to normal patterns.) Arctic sea ice is within a few percentage points of “normal” levels for the past fifty years, and the rate of sea level rise is not accelerating.
    These facts completely contradict computer model predictions and alarmist claims. Moreover, as Climategate and numerous studies have shown, the “science” behind EPA’s ruling that carbon dioxide “endangers” human health and welfare is conjectural, manufactured, manipulated and even fraudulent.
    EPA is supposed to protect our environment, health and welfare. Instead, it “safeguards” us from exaggerated or illusory risks – by issuing mountains of costly, intrusive regulations that endanger our health, wellbeing and wildlife far more than any reasonably foreseeable effects from climate change.
    This accumulation of anti-hydrocarbon restrictions and penalties is putting EPA in control of nearly every aspect of our lives. Fuel, compliance and business costs will soar. Companies will be forced to outsource work to other countries, reduce work forces, shift people to part-time status, or close their doors.
    Poor and minority families will be unable to heat and cool their homes properly, pay their rent or mortgage, buy clothing and medicine, take vacations, pay their bills, give to charity, and save for college and retirement.
    With twelve million Americans already out of work, and another eight million working multiple lower-paying, part-time jobs, EPA’s global warming and 1,920 other rules over the past four years translate into unprecedented sleep deprivation, lower economic and educational status, and soaring anxiety and stress. That will mean greater risk of strokes and heart attacks; higher incidences of depression, alcohol, drug, spousal and child abuse; more suicides; and declining overall life expectancy.
    EPA’s new 54.5 mpg fuel efficiency standards will force more people into smaller, lighter, less safe cars – causing thousands of needless additional serious injuries and deaths every year – in the name of preventing illusory climate and oil and gas depletion crises.
    Federal regulators use the same phony climate change and energy depletion arguments to justify letting wind turbine operators slaughter millions of birds and bats every year – including bald and golden eagles, hawks, condors and whooping cranes. They continue to promote and subsidize $50-per-gallon biofuels, to replace oil and natural gas that the world still has in abundance – thanks to new exploration, drilling and production technologies. This focus on biofuels also means more rainforests and other wildlife habitats are being cut down in the name of “renewable” energy.
    EPA and President Obama never consider any of this, in calculating the supposed “benefits” of their onerous regulations. They refuse to recognize that their hysterical claims of climate cataclysms are increasingly indefensible. They ignore the damage that their heavy-handed rules impose on our health, welfare and environmental quality.
    EPA finds, punishes and even targets anyone who violates any of its ten thousand commandments, even inadvertently. The agency’s climate change actions, however, are not inadvertent. They are deliberate, and their effects are harmful and far reaching. They will affect every American and 100% of our economy.
    And yet, these increasingly powerful bureaucrats – who seek and acquire ever more control over our lives – remain faceless, nameless, unelected and unaccountable. They operate largely behind closed doors, issuing regulations and arranging sweetheart “sue and settle” legal actions with radical environmentalist groups, to advance ideological agendas, without regard for their impacts on our lives, livelihoods, living standards, health, welfare and environment.
    They know that, for them, there is rarely any real transparency, accountability or consequences – even for gross stupidity, major screw-ups, flagrant abuses or deliberate harm.
    We need to save our environment from environmentalists and EPA – and safeguard our liberties, living standards and lives against the arrogance of too-powerful politicians and bureaucrats. How we achieve this, while protecting our lives and environment from real risks, is one of the greatest challenges we face.
    Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power - Black death.
    © Paul Driessen * June 20, 2013
    Published in the Washington Times, Monday, June 24, 2013

    End of the Trail for New Era Wind Farm

  • Wednesday, June 19, 2013
  • by
  • Eagle Siting
  • Citizens hope that the New Era industrial wind project ‘s upcoming Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC)hearing will be its last. MPUC staff briefing papers for the June 20, 2013 hearing provide two pages of options for Commissioner’s to bring to a close the most contested project in Minnesota history. Staff detailed the previous months’ power purchase contract default letters between Xcel, current project owner Peter J. Mastic, and the project’s legal counsel at Fredrickson and Byron. MPUC staff also point to their thorough February 2013 briefing papers.  Commission staff and citizens teed up this former T. Boone Pickens' project to be put out of its misery by Commissioners. The February hearing ended in citizen disgust as MPUC Commissions acted on advice of their legal counsel by sitting on their hands waiting, again, for someone else to end this mess.

    All vital signs have pointed to the death of New Era/ AWA Goodhue since T. Boone Pickens’ Mesa Power sold the troubled project to Peter Mastic. Mastic, former CEO of the projects former development company, National Wind, bought the project  in October 2012. Xcel’s June 2013 update brings no hope of this project continuing. The contracts are in default. All timelines for remedy have long expired. In addition to not responding to citizens phone calls and letters, Xcel and the MPUC say Mr. Mastic has been Unresponsive to them as well. Xcel’s attorneys told Fredrickson and Byron’s Dan Yarano that New Era can voluntarily withdraw from the contracts “immediately”, or Xcel will begin proceedings in District Court. Evidently, "immediately" illicited no response.
    "As we stated in our response...May 24, 2013, [Xcel] would commence a declaratory judgment action in Minnesota District Court in the event we were unable to work out a voluntary termination of the PPAs. We filed this Declaratory Judgment with the Fourth District Judicial Court on June 14, 2013.... The purpose for this action will be to resolve any questions over whether the magnitude and quality of New Era’s defaults are sufficient to justify termination for default." Xcel; June 17, 2013
    After three pages of whining, Mr. Mastics April letter finally states, indirectly, that he is no longer pursuing a project in Goodhue County, Minnesota. Mr. Mastic implies that he has been attempting to sell his Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) to projects in Minnesota “communities more welcoming”.
    "New Era has no confidence that due process for this project will ever end, nor that an ABPP will ever be approved, however comprehensively and carefully drafted."
    "New Era made a series of proposals to [Xcel], backed by three different project owners.... Each of these projects is sited in a community that is far more receptive to wind energy than is Goodhue." Peter Mastic 4/17/2013

    The Coalition for Sensible Siting congratulates citizens on the death of industrial wind fanatasies in Goodhue County. Citizens shined the light of truth on this project through relentless, five year engagement in an often hideous always iased process. Communities "more receptive to wind energy" generally means communities uneducated or un-engaged. We have yet to find a fully informed community that welcomes Big Wind.
    "[New Era] has (i) failed to advance construction of the Goodhue Project in the timeframes required by the Agreements (even as extended by claimed periods of force majeure) and [New Era] has provided NSP with no plan to advance construction of the Goodhue Project as required by the PPAs; (ii) failed to establish a Security Fund to protect NSP in the event of Project delays or breaches of contract, in breach of...the Agreements; (iii) failed to pay liquidated Delay Damages in the contractual amounts and timeframes, in breach...of the Agreements as amended; and (iv) allowed for a change of control of the Goodhue Project without prior written approval by NSP, in breach of...the Agreements. Defendant has failed to cure these material breaches of the Agreements." Xcel; June 14, 2013

    A New Era Dawns in Goodhue Minnesota

  • Wednesday, April 17, 2013
  • by
  • Eagle Siting
  • A collective cheer shook the cold, wet countryside of Goodhue County. In a last minute tantrum filed late this afternoon, Peter Mastic revealed the New Era Wind Farm is no longer seeking to force industrial wind turbines into the rolling farm country of South East Minnesota. The former T. Boone Pickens project is the most contentious in State history, and has become nationally known as a problematic renewable energy project. The project became more divisive after filing the country's first wind project application to obtain an Incidental Take Permit (ITP), in order to slaughter bald eagles without the threat of federal prosecution.  


    Never popular with the local citizens, the limited early support dwindled to a handful of families. Many local citizens have battled the proposed project for five years. Peter Mastic bought the troubled project from Picken's Mesa Power last October after heading National Wind, the proposed project's first owner and former developer.

    After a three-and-a-half-page rant, Mastic finally admits, "New Era has no confidence that due process for this project will ever end, nor that an [Avian and Bat Protection Plan] will ever be approved...".

    "...In an effort to reach a more practical solution that would...allow New Era to recover at least a portion of its investment, New Era initiated discussions [in December 2012] with [Xcel Energy] to assign its power contracts to a third-party wind project developer and site. ...New Era made a series of proposals... backed by three different project owners.... Each of these projects is sited in a community that is far more receptive to wind energy than is Goodhue."
    "[Xcel] chose to reject all of these proposals. ...In its April 12, 2013 letter to New Era, [Xcel] stated that New Era would have 30 days from that date to effect a cure of the power contract defaults....for the remainder of the 30-day period specified by [Xcel], New Era will continue to attempt to complete the assignment and the cure of any and all defaults under the power contracts."
    This is the first time citizens have successfully turned back an industrial wind project in Minnesota - a state with one of the strongest mandates in the nation for Big Wind. Given the extraordinary regulatory favoritism and financial largess, the demise of Goodhue Wind/ AWA Goodhue/ New Era is miraculous. Relentless participation by the remarkable people of Goodhue County paid off. Congratulations.
    The Coalition for Sensible Siting has been a voice for citizens in this battle to prevent industrial wind devastation in a vibrant rural community with a remarkably diverse and healthy ecosystem.

    Bald Eagle Annual Deaths As High As 14

  • Wednesday, January 16, 2013
  • by
  • Eagle Siting

  • United States Fish and Wildlife Service predicts that between 8 and 14 American bald eagles could be killed annually if New Era Wind Farm is built as currently designed. The outcome of USFWS's eagle mortality models are dramatically higher than one eagle every-other-year as predicted by New Era's consultant Westwood Professional Services. 
    In November 2012, New Era was the first wind facility in the nation to apply to the USFWS for an "Incidental Take Permit" to be allowed to kill bald eagles with their wind turbines without the danger of federal prosecution. Bald eagles are protected under the federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Without an ITP, killing an eagle is against federal law. The ITP process for New Era is not yet completed.

    The eagle mortality rates were one part of extensive analysis and comments that USFWS provided in response to New Era's updated Avian and Bat Protection Plan (ABPP) required by the State of Minnesota. Overall, the USFWS found a number of problems with the ABPP methodology and conclusions. The 2010 avian study reported zero nests and no eagles flying in the wind project area; USFWS estimates the area bald eagle population at well over 400. Problems identified by USFWS included a warning about killing golden eagles, which also fly through the area. The Service made it clear that there is no possibility of obtaining an ITP for golden eagles in this area of the country, so that killing one would be a federally prosecutable offense.

    The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources provided comments on the same ABPP. The DNR raised concerns about Northern Harriers, Henslow Sparrow, bats and other wildlife potentially impacted by the project and the lack of data provided by New Era. Northern Harriers are listed as a bird of national concern by the USFWS and a Species of Greatest Conservation Need by DNR.

    Goodhue County is located within the broad corridor of the Mississippi River Flyway. This is the largest migration route in North America. Millions of birds pass through and stop over this area on their annual spring and fall travels. The New Era ABPP shows a failure to perform avian migration field studies despite the project's advanced stage in the State permitting process.  Bats are also high on the list of concerns expressed by USFWS and the MN DNR. Bats are a keystone species known to die in large numbers at wind facilities

    Few wildlife impact studies have been done before, or after, the construction of industrial wind facilities in the United States. However, the studies that have been done suggest high mortality of birds and bats. Raptors, such a eagles, are known to be at high risk of being struck and killed by wind turbine blades. A study in SW Minnesota showed a 47% reduction in raptor numbers after construction of wind turbines. It is not clear how many died, and how many abandoned the area as no-longer-suitable habitat. Bats die both from blade strikes and barotrauma.

    New Era Wind Farm is a 78 MW industrial facility proposed for central Goodhue County in southeastern Minnesota. The project became nationally infamous under its previous owner, Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens. During Pickens' ownership the project was called AWA Goodhue and was wholely owned by his Dallas based Mesa Power. The lack of local public support and the high number of educated and concerned citizens has made this the most controversial wind project in Minnesota history. Peter Mastic, formerly the developer, purchased the wind project from Pickens last fall and changed the name to "New Era Wind Farm."

    The previous ABPP for this project was rejected by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission at a hearing on February 23, 2012. It is unclear when the MPUC may hold a hearing on the updated ABPP. Due to Minnesota State laws promoting industrial wind, this project is not required to produce an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) as required of other industries.

    The Coalition for Sensible Siting is proud of the extensive and important feedback citizens provided on the ABPP. The USFWS and the MN DNR provided excellent and thorough review and comment on the ABPP. Many concerns raised by citizens (below) where confirmed by USFWS and MN DNR.

    The updated New Era Wind Farm Avian and Bat Protection Plan (4 parts):

    Appendices A-P
    Exhibits 1-9
    Exhibits 10-19

    Citizen Comments on the ABPP:

    No migration studies in the Mississippi Flyway - Mary Jo O'Rielly
    Bald Eagle nest missing from ABPP - Doug Sommers
    Failure to study owls - Kelly Norman
    Failure to study raptors - Kristi Rosenquist

    Eagles, Owls and site control - Rick Conrad
    Turbines closer than 2 miles from Bald Eagle nests - Ann Buck
    Northern Harriers at risk - Bill O'Reilly
    Telling residents how to farm and hunt is nonsense - Joe Hernke
    Turbines near conservation lands - Jon Stussy
    New Era lacks site control - Rochelle Nygaard
    New nest and important eagle use area - Connie Ludwig
    Misleading data and failure to perform required surveys - Barb Stussy
    Misrepresenting Important Eagle Use Areas - Bob Rosenquist
    Waterfowl migration missing - Scott Logan
    Turbines located on forest edges - Marilyn Jonas
    Raptor nests and territories missing from maps - Scott Logan
    Misrepresents eagles and fails to study other species - Mary Hartman
    Assessment of turbine distance misleading - Kristi Rosenquist
    Obligating local government and citizens without due process - Paul Reese
    Request the MPUC perform a site visit - Marie McNamara
    60 minute point counts lasted only 45 minutes - Scott Logan
    Northern Harrier and other hawk data missing - Erin Logan
    Failure to perform required field surveys - Sue Hinrichs
    Failure to avoid CRP and other conservation lands - Tom Gale
    Performing bat surveys with broken towers - Mary Hartman
    Eagle point counts from poor vantage point - Scott Husbyn
    Bat mortality at 7800 annually? - Mary Hartman


    Tell the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board What You Think

  • Tuesday, November 27, 2012
  • by
  • Eagle Siting
  • Today is the state-wide kickoff of a series of citizen forums advertised as asking Minnesotans their thoughts about the future of Minnesota's Environmental policies. The forums are sponsored by the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board (EQB). I encourage Minnesotans to attend and/or send your comments to the EQB in writing. I especially encourage factual scientifically based and concrete experiential feedback for this collection of nine Governor-appointed State agency heads.

    Citizen Forums
    Citizen Forums: The Governor's Cabinet will host six interactive Citizen Forums held in each region of the state to present report card findings, gather public feedback, and engage in meaningful local conversations about regional economic and environmental issues.

    I've reviewed the "Report Card" which the EQB site bills as, "An environmental and energy report card measuring Minnesota’s performance in clean air, clean water, and clean energy." I can't see where it measures so much a propagandizes, but I encourage you to read it and provide your own thoughts to the EQB.

    The EQB is pointing to Governor Dayton's Executive Order 11-32 as the origins of the Report Card, and the upcoming March 2013 Environmental Congress. I read the the Governor's order which points to recent legislation seeking coordination and streamlining of environmental permitting processes. I couldn't find any mention of, or any recommendations for, streamlining in the "Report Card".

    A couple other notes of interest:

    Ellen Anderson is apparently facilitating and hosting the citizen's forums. Ms. Anderson is a former Minnesota Senator and former Minnesota Public Utilities Chairperson.

    Bill Grant is the primary person responsible for the content of the Report Card. Mr. Grant is the current Director of the Office of Energy Resources (formerly called the Office of Energy Security) at the Minnesota Department of Commerce. This office took over most energy facilities permitting activities from the EQB in 2007. Mr. Grant was the head of the Minnesota Izaak Walton League for 10 years prior to his current position. 

    I asked Bill Grant why the 2007 Minnesota Renewable Energy Standards specifically exempt industrial wind from all electrical regulatory laws, including exemption from performing an environmental impact statement; and exemptions from agricultural land use laws and the Minnesota Constitution. Mr. Grant explained that the "design goal" behind Minnesota's industrial wind mandate was to "install as much wind as quickly as possible in order to get as much federal money as possible."

    The Report Card makes much of Minnesotans passing a new tax on themselves - the Legacy Amendment for environment and the arts. But the Report Card seems to have forgotten a longstanding significant source of funding: the Environmental and Natural Resources Trust Fund from the Minnesota Lottery and administered by the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR). 


    25 X 25 Fails in Michigan

  • Saturday, November 17, 2012
  • by
  • Eagle Siting
  • Michigan voters overwhelmingly rejected Proposition 3 - a ballot question as to whether Michigan should mandate that 25% of their electricity come from "renewable energy" by the year 2025. Like all "renewable energy portfolios/ standards", Michigan's was a mandate primarily for industrial wind turbines. Congratulations go to the grassroots citizen movement of the Interstate Informed Citizen's Coalition (IICC). Director, Kevon Martis gives his take on the defeat of this proposed state constitutional amendment. 

    Why Michigan voters wisely rejected the crazy idea of 25% electricity from renewables by 2025    (The full article appears on line at CFact.)

    by Kevon Martis         

    The Michigan Energy-Michigan Jobs (MEMJ) Proposal 3 – its 25 by 25 gambit – would have forced Michigan taxpayers and ratepayers to produce 25 percent of the Wolverine State’s electricity via expensive, unreliable, parasitic wind and solar projects by 2025.
    The misguided program has now been laid to rest by the wisdom of Michigan’s voters. What can we learn by autopsying its corpse?

    This initiative was hardly local. It was driven by out-of-state pressure groups like the Sierra Club that were backed by the League of Conservation Voters, natural gas company Chesapeake Energy, and a number of deep-pocketed elites. MEMJ itself was funded largely by the Green Tech Action Fund of San Francisco; the Natural Resources Defense Fund of New York, whose president is multi-millionaire Frances Beinecke; and San Francisco hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer.

    These carpetbagger activists placed a bull’s-eye on Michigan ratepayers with Proposal 3. Sierra Club was blunt: “If successful, the [Michigan] 25×25 initiative will send an important signal to the nation that public desire to move toward green energy remains strong.”

    The grassroots activists who defeated this proposal had no billionaire largesse to draw upon. They were united under the Interstate Informed Citizen’s Coalition, a bipartisan renewable energy consumers watchdog group dependent on small contributions to support its work and committed to advancing sensible science-based energy policies and free market land use policies.

    Compelled by the principle that industrial renewable energy schemes like Proposal 3 bring far more benefit to their invisible corporate cronies than to the environment, IICC members traveled the state on their own dime to speak out, protest, educate and inform. Their reward was sweet: they took their message of science-based energy policy to the people, who responded at the ballot box, soundly defeating Proposal 3 by 64-36 percent.
    Using Sierra’s own test, Michigan ratepayers have shouted there is no such “public desire.”

    In fact, there is widespread opposition to mandating forest-denuding biomass and massively expensive solar. But the hottest conflict focused on industrial wind. Michigan wind projects have lost at the ballot box virtually every time they have been put to the vote in a fair manner – and by similar margins.

    At the township level, opposition to wind cronyism is just as strong. In Lenawee County, Riga Township rejected wind-friendly zoning by 64-36 percent. Two more Lenawee Townships followed suit. In Huron County, Lake Township removed a wind friendly ordinance by a similar 61-39 percent. And in Clinton County townships are intent on adopting police power regulations for wind energy installations, in defiance of too-permissive county level zoning.

    This opposition is strongly bipartisan. Proposal 3 and its miles of wind turbines were opposed by both the free market Americans for Prosperity and Michael Moore movie producer Jeff Gibbs.

    The ballot box evidence is clear. Michigan ratepayers from left to right are emphatic that there is no “desire” for mandated and subsidized industrial wind projects, in their backyard or anywhere in the State.

    The push for Prop 3 also broke the big utilities’ code of silence on wind inefficacy. MEMJ unwittingly exposed CMS Energy’s duplicity on this issue – observing that CMS praised its new Ludington area wind plant for furnishing “reliable and affordable energy,” even as its public relations surrogate Care for Michigan was calling wind “expensive and unreliable.” Unfortunately for MEMJ, the Care for Michigan version was the truth.

    Kevon Martis travelled Michigan to educate voters about Prop 3 and the reality of industrial wind. Though geared towards Michigan, the lesson is applicable everywhere. The Coalition for Sensible Siting congratulates the citizens of Michigan on their sensible action to reject permanent enslavement to the lie of 25 X 25.

    "New Era" for T. Boone Pickens' Wind Project

  • Sunday, October 14, 2012
  • by
  • Eagle Siting

  • New Era Wind Farm
    After three years, T. Boone Pickens has officially taken his lost a** home to Texas.  The Coalition for Sensible Siting congratulates rural Minnesota residents on this major victory. When Pickens' Mesa Power/ American Wind Alliance purchased the proposed AWA Goodhue Project from National Wind in December 2009, it looked like a sure bet:
    1. Minnesota has one of the strongest wind mandates in the nation.

    2. Wind is exempt from MN laws regulating electrical producers and agricultural land use.

    3. MN State turbine siting "standards" written by Enron Wind in the early 1990s.

    4. Xcel agreed to purchase the electricity at the highest rate ever paid for MN wind power.

    5. Transmission space available.

    6. Developer's attorney helped draft MN's Renewable Energy Standard when employed by the MN Department of Commerce.

    7. Direct access lobbying then Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty for support.

    8. Goodhue County had no land use ordinance for large wind energy projects.

    9. Dept. of Commerce staff cheerleading the project at the Public Utilities Commission.

    10. Outdated studies of Bald Eagles nesting in Goodhue County.

    11. Federal Section 1603 up front cash-for-turbines incentive of about $50 million.

    Despite Minnesota supplying a vehicle (law), a driver (Commerce) and a six land highway (mandate) to speed wind developers to the federal money, Pickens pulled out. Rural neighbors joined together and stopped one of the wealthiest and most politically connected men in the world.

    The most timely and accurate reporting has come from dynamite young reporter Brett Boese of the Rochester Post Bulletin. Most recently, Boese broke the sale of National Wind to Trishe nearly a week ahead of larger Statewide papers. He broke the change of AWA Goodhue to New Era ahead of the pack as well.

    In an October 12, 2012 press release, Peter Mastic announced that his newest corporate creation, New Era Wind Farm, bought "100% of...AWA Goodhue, LLC from American Wind Alliance, LLC of Dallas Texas." The Minneapolis StarTribune reported that Mastic is the sole owner and only employee of New Era.

    Mr. Mastic claims an advisory board of active participants. The vast majority of local residents have consistently been against the project. Initially, about 7 of 8 landowners who were offered money to lease their land for turbines refused to participate. Since then many of the participants have withdrawn, citing breach of contract by the project. With Peter Mastic at the helm, the no-longer-participating landowners were sued. Mr. Mastic also presided over dragging a local farmer into Court using fabricated accusations of harassment. Local sentiment makes it clear that Peter Mastic and all his local supporters should be able to meet comfortably at New Era's new address - P.O. Box 307, Goodhue MN.


    Eight State Habitat Conservation Plan Needs Public Comment

  • Sunday, September 16, 2012
  • by
  • Eagle Siting
  • The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced on August 30, 2012 that they are taking public comment until October 1, 2012 * regarding plans to produce an eight state Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan (MSHCP). The MSHCP would be a basis for industrial wind projects to receive Incidental Take Permits  - permits to kill endangered and protected species without prosecution. The "planning partners" in this endeavor are the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and The Conservation Fund.

    9/27/12 UPDATE: USFWS's Rick Amidon stated that the initial comment period will be extended by 60 days.

    The Coalition for Sensible Siting is asking citizens to:

    1.  Request an extention of this initial comment period beyond October 1, 2012.

    2.  Send comments about the multi-state Habitat Conservation Plan Process

    Send your comments or request information by any one of the following methods:
    U.S. Mail: Regional Director, Attn: Rick Amidon, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services, 5600 American Blvd. West, Suite 990, Bloomington, MN 55437–1458;
    Facsimile: 612/713–5292 (Attn: Rick Amidon); or
    USFWS excerpts from the Federal Register and press release include:
    Public Comments The Service is asking the public to help identify issues that are important to them as the plan is developed. The incidental take permit(s) will cover participating wind energy facilities in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.  USFWS is requesting information and comment concerning the planning process, our permitting approach, biological aspects of the interaction of wind facilities and species, scientific data that may help inform the MSHCP or monitoring of impacts, and any other information that interested parties would like to offer.
    Comments merely stating support for, or opposition to, the MSHCP under consideration without providing supporting information, although noted, will not provide information useful in determining relevant issues and impacts. The public will receive additional opportunity to provide comments on the draft EIS and draft MSHCP when they are completed.
    Planning partners  in this effort include the conservation agencies for the eight states, The Conservation Fund, and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)
    The eight State conservation agencies participating in the development of this MSHCP are the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Missouri Department of Conservation, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
    ‘‘Covered activities’’ under the MSHCP include the siting, construction, operation, maintenance, and decommissioning of wind energy facilities within all or portions of the eight-State planning area. Activities associated with the management of mitigation land would also be covered.

    Background In 2009, the Conservation Fund solicited the eight States that make up the planning area to support their submission of an application for a grant. The grant would fund development of the MSHCP and an incidental take permitting program. The grant application included virtually identical August 2009 letters of suppport from the eight States' conservation agencies.
    Review of the grant materials shows the grant activities would be completed between 2010 and 2012:.
    "Work for which funding is requested is scheduled to be accomplished in two years."
    Start: June 2010, End: May 2012
    Task 1: MSHCP
    Task 2: NEPA
    Task 3: GI Network Design Focus Groups
    Task 4: Mitigation Site Reports Focus Groups
    Task 5: Operational Mitigation Measures

    USFWS anticipates that "the issuance of individual ITPs would be the permitting approach under this MSHCP. Currently there are additional permit structure options being considered; however, under any permit structure, the MSHCP would meet all ITP issuance criteria found at 50 CFR 13.21, 17.22(b), and 17.32(b), and would be evaluated under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Section 7 of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1536)."
    "The MSHCP planning partners envision that under any permit approach, no additional NEPA or Section 7 analysis would occur, and ‘‘No Surprises’’ assurances would apply to the MSHCP. Evaluation of the MSHCP and permitting program would include public review by all interested parties. In the event that the MSHCP might need to be amended in the future (e.g., to add a species or consider an activity not previously evaluated), further public review would occur." 

    The Conservation Fund states that Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced award of this grant for the development of a landscape-level, multi-species habitat conservation plan throughout the states that "will provide conservation benefits to threatened and endangered species while accommodating wind energy development."

    "As the demand for wind energy grows, this plan will provide a means for wind energy developers to avoid, minimize, mitigate and compensate for adverse effects to protected species....  The...states will work in collaboration...[with] the wind energy industry and The Conservation Fund to lead a strategic conservation planning process that focuses on combining species’ needs with potential habitat mitigation across the landscape."
    Kris Hoellen, director of the Conservation Leadership Network for The Conservation Fund said. “This provides a better way forward for wind energy development that integrates economic and environmental goals.”

    Page 28/72 MSHCP Grant Application August 19, 2009

    Coalition for Sensible Siting's Kristi Rosenquist contacted Kris Hoellen to determine what, if any, work had occurred on this grant since its award in April 2010. Ms. Hoellen stated that they hired an outside consultant and talked about process. USFWS identified the consultant as SAIC. When asked what information had been gathered and considered already, Ms. Hoellen stated, "none".

    This seems odd since the USFWS just finished taking comments on their land-based wind turbine siting guidelines in July 2012. This is the same comment process for which AWEA stated in November 2, 2011, "Last fall, early draft version of Service’s eagle conservation plan guidance was leaked. AWEA staff obtained advance copy." In past years, AWEA has objected to any move by USFWS that would slow or hinder the installation of industrial wind turbines at any location in the US. AWEA is a major participating planning partner driving this MSHCP.

    The number of installed industrial wind turbines in the eight state region has nearly doubled in the three years since this grant application was made. State conservation agencies are normally charged with management of State owned lands, not private property. Nearly all industrial wind turbines in these eight states are located on private property leased by wind developers. There is no basis to believe that state conservation agencies possess any detailed knowledge of wildlife on these privately held lands. Certainly they do not posess sufficient information to produce an MSHCP with any meaningful baseline data. This problem with wind turbine siting became clear in Minnesota starting in 2011. 

    The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has become far more actively involved in the review of industrial wind permit applications in Minnesota since mid-to-late 2011. The increased scrutiny of the MN DNR is directly attributed to the grassroots work of local citizens in response to the AWA Goodhue, LLC site permit.

    The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) required AWA Goodhue to produce an Avian and Bat Protection Plan (ABPP) after citizens revealed that incomplete and inaccurate wildlife information had been provided to the State by the project.  Subsequently, the ABPP presented at the February 23, 2012 MPUC hearing was exposed by citizens as an Avian and Bat Protection Deception Plan and was rejected by the MPUC.

    The MN DNR has pointed out numerous concerns and deficiencies to virtually every MN wind permit site application in the past year. This includes the July 2012 review of Spanish owned Gamesa's Eco Harmony wind project in Southeastern Minnesota. The MN DNR noted that the proposed site map shows 28 turbines on, or directly adjacent to, known mapped sink holes. This is also an area riddled with caves in which bats hibernate.

    Three years after the grant application, it seems likely that the other seven states' conservation agencies may also have a far different view of wind energy than when they wrote their letters of support in August 2009.

    The Coalition for Senisble Siting is concerned that the primary participants in forming and driving this MSHCP process are: 

    1. AWEA whose interests are purely financial for the wind industry - not wildlife,
    2. The Conservation Fund whose website looks like AWEA promotional material,
    3. USFWS staff under pressure to fulfill Ken Salazar's wind energy fantasies, and
    4. State DNRs with neither existing data, nor the staff to gather data, about wildlife on private land in their respective States.

    Region 3 USFWS staff have been instrumental in confirming citizen's wildlife reports in Goodhue County, Minnesota and providing feedback to wind project owner AWA Goodhue, LLC. Like the state DNR, USFWS does not have detailed wildlife data on privately held lands. A review of recent USFWS information obtained through FOIA requests make it appear that USFWS is under tremendous pressure from Ken Salazar and other political appointees to say and do whatever is required to allow installation of industrial wind everywhere.

    Is it really possible for USFWS to perform their mission, demonstrate scientific excellence AND support the development of wind energy all at the same time?

    "The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence.

    "The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is leading development of a Habitat Conservation Plan for the Midwest that will conserve endangered species, promote development of clean energy which in turn will reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide."



    Production Tax Credit 'FIT' for Retirement

  • Wednesday, August 15, 2012
  • by
  • Eagle Siting
  • Big subsidies for wind projects are 'FIT' for retirement
    By Mary Kay Barton
    The Coalition for Sensible Siting welcomes this article from our friend and voice for citizens for New York State on industrial wind.

    Larry Beahan of the Sierra Club Niagra Group, declared in his 8/7/12 Buffalo News 'Another Voice' piece that FIT - a feed-in-tariff (aka: another TAX) should be mandated to guarantee rates for "green" energy for the next 20 years. 
    Apparently Mr. Beahan is unaware that industrial wind energy already has been feeding at the government trough of taxpayer-funded corporate welfare for over 20 years now - in the form of the Production Tax Credit, and 1603 Direct Cash Grant Program.
    The reality is, subsidies for industrial wind cost FAR more than any other source, as spelled out in the 8/1/12 Master Resource article, "New York State's Money-Road to Nowhere":
    On a per kWh basis, wind receives 80 times the public subsidies received by fossil fuels, but produces no reliable electricity capacity and very few American jobs. In fact, for every green job that wind supposedly creates, it destroys two to four regular jobs – in large part due to skyrocketing” electricity rates.”
    So what do we get for those exorbitant costs? Industrial wind provides virtually NO Capacity Value / Firm Capacity (specified amounts of power on demand), and therefore, can NOT provide modern power – period. Despite having over 140,000 Industrial Wind Turbines installed worldwide, CO2 emissions have NOT been significantly reduced – ANYWHERE!

    We may as well mandate that we get 25% of our naval fleet from sailboats, 25% of our air transport from gliders, or 25% of our gas & diesel vehicle transport from horse and buggies.
    Another reality -- Germany is now building 17 new coal, and 29 new gas-fired power plants to replace their emissions-free nuclear plants.
    Environmentalist Jon Boone has done an excellent job of defining the problems with the Sierra Club's blind support of industrial wind in his report, "The Sierra Club: How support for Industrial Wind technology subverts its history, betrays its mission, and erodes commitment to the scientific method".

    Paul Driessen's Washington Times article today (8/7/12), "Wind Energy Tax Credits Fund Bird Murder," points to the hypocrisy of any supposed bird enthusiast supporting industrial wind.

    Obviously, the admittedly "necessarily skyrocketing" electricity prices associated with this Administration's "green" agenda, will further drive business out of NYS (and the U.S.), and hurt our poor the most.

    You would think that folks would understand that that our $16 TRILLION Dollar indebted nation can no longer afford to throw good money after bad pursuing the wishful thinking of "green" enthusiasts. Our resources would be much better spent on Energy Efficiency, and research on technologies of the future - not antiquated corporate money-grubbing schemes like ENRON-initiated wind power.

    I think we can all agree -- The time for science-based energy policies is now!

    Mary Kay Barton

    Mary Kay Barton, a retired health educator and small business owner in New York State, is a tireless advocate for scientifically sound, affordable, and reliable electricity for all Americans. She has served over the past decade in local Water Quality organizations and enjoys gardening and birding in her National Wildlife Federation “Backyard Wildlife Habitat.”


    Wind Energy

    Bald Eagle

    Copyright (c) 2010 Blogger templates by Bloggermint