This bill is also being greeted with a hysterical reaction from the wind industry. Again, let me be perfectly clear. I am not against wind energy.
Nick Rahall (D-WV), Chairman, Committee on Natural Resources
The American Wind Energy Association stated in their press release of the same day that provision, Subtitle D of HR 2337, would:
- Stall all new wind projects until Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) rules are issued and require FWS certification of every turbine
- Require all existing turbines, even small residential units, to cease operating 6 months after issuance of new FWS rules until they are “certified,” an unwieldy bureaucratic process applying to many thousands of turbines that, again, will take years
- Make it a crime, punishable by a $50,000 fine or a year in jail, to construct or generate electricity from an unapproved turbine, even for home use
- Undermine state and federal efforts to promote renewable electricity generation and subvert the growing movement to reduce global warming pollution
- Create an unworkable bureaucracy that will delay clean, emissions-free wind energy projects throughout the U.S.
The provision is being offered as a solution to protecting wildlife. However evidence from varying sources refute claims that wind turbines pose significant danger to wildlife. A report from the National Academy of Sciences states bird deaths caused by wind turbines are less than 0.003% of human caused bird mortality, and in the United States, turbines kill 70,000 birds per year, compared to 57 million killed by cars and 97.5 million killed by collisions with plate glass.
The National Association of Manufacturers believes that a comprehensive approach toward energy leads to the logical conclusion that the United States must diversify its sources of energy. Wind energy should be part of this mix. The new certification requirements of this section of H.R. 2337, however, would bring wind energy development across the United States to a halt, this despite the fact that the National Academy of Sciences has concluded wind turbines cause less than 0.003 percent of human-caused bird mortality. Furthermore, the broad mandate directing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to review every existing and planned wind project is far beyond the agency’s resources and capabilities.
John Engler, President, National Association of Manufacturers
In the UK, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds concluded that "The available evidence suggests that appropriately positioned wind farms do not pose a significant hazard for birds." It notes that climate change poses a much more significant threat to wildlife, and therefore supports wind farms and other forms of renewable energy.
So what can you do to ensure that wind energy can continue to flourish and provide clean sustainable energy for America?
- Take action on the issue at the Legislative Web Page
- Contact your House Representative, you can find them here
- Sign the epetition against provision, Subtitle D of HR 2337
This provision will result in restrictions on one of the cleanest forms of energy available, adding red-tape and bureaucracy to an industry which process high standards of wildlife protection and continues to implement steps to address new environmental concerns. These restrictions will have a resulting factor on the uptake of wind power as a renewable energy source and threaten those jobs in the industry in the USA. The impact will negatively affect the economy as a whole.
Just my thoughts please leave yours.
Wind energy requires no mining or drilling for fuel, no fuel transportation, no hazardous waste disposal, and no water use; and wind energy generates electricity without toxic pollutants like mercury, without greenhouse pollution, and of course without the conventional pollutants that cause smog and acid rain. Is this really an energy sector Congress should close down, for environmental reasons?
Gregory Wetstone, AWEA Senior Director of Government and Public Affairs (View Testimony *PDF)