Bluebird Society leader dubious of biologist’s claims of turbine impact on environment

Posted 16 February 2017 at 6:19 pm


Dave Phillips, a “professional biologist” with Apex, must think people in Orleans County have no ability to differentiate reality from pure obfuscation, amidst his less than Herculean effort to confuse an extremely serious issue with transparently misleading statements. For me, his empty reassurances are not at all persuasive.

Included in his cleverly contrived effort to reassure Orleans County residents that 600-foot wind turbines are acceptably benign were a number of revealing acknowledgements. He admitted in his response to Christine Bronson that, “The FWS (East Lansing, Michigan) field office did recommend that no turbines be sited within 3 miles of the shoreline at a Delta County, Michigan wind project. . .” But what does the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) know?

What comfort is it to us that (as he says), “The Michigan project . . . (has been) operating since September 2012 with similar bird mortality rates to projects sited well away from Great Lakes shorelines and consistent with national averages”?  So turbines will kill birds at no higher rates than they do further inland.

But Mr. Phillips assures us that “. . . Apex takes environmental compliance very seriously.”

Toward the end of his perfunctory effort to dismiss and minimize (and read this carefully), he states, “All wind projects do result in change, and do have some level of impact, however, our goal for this project is that any significantly adverse impacts are mitigated in a manner that results are a net conservation benefit for the affected species. In other words, installation of the project should ideally benefit the wildlife resources overall.”

Here is where he acts as if the reader was born yesterday. Are the wildlife resources that will receive the “net conservation benefit” the many “affected species” or “wildlife resources overall”?

First, you clear the type of habitat that supports the numerous warblers that rest and refuel in areas similar to much of Lakeside Park (where Nature Conservancy researchers, a few years ago, found warblers “dripping from the trees.” (Those who think bluebirds are beautiful should get a look at warblers in migration!)

Then, by Mr. Phillips’ admission, the cleared areas are used for turbines that take their toll on those fortunate enough to have survived buildings, weather, feral and domestic cats, motor vehicles, and numerous other obstacles in their migration through the heart of The Atlantic Flyway. But, an Apex biologist advises that we not be concerned. He assures us that no more will die than do anywhere else turbines are erected in the middle of the Flyway!

Face it. For too many, no amount of fact really matters in the relentless pursuit of “progress”.

Orleans County, generally, is a bad fit for wind turbines.

Sincerely yours,

Gary Kent


(Kent is president of the Orleans County Bluebird Society.)