Greater Wyoming Valley Audubon Society

Position on Wind Power Generating Facilities

August 15, 2005


The Officers and Directors of the Greater Wyoming Valley Audubon Society support the development of clean, alternative energy sources that can reduce the United States' dependence upon fossil fuels, nuclear power, and other polluting and/or hazardous means of energy production and use. However, we believe that alternative energy sources that are promoted as being environmentally friendly must be demonstrably so. Among the purportedly environmentally friendly energy sources, wind power has been proposed as a desirable alternative, and several wind power generating sites, or "wind farms," have been proposed for forested areas and ridgetops near the Wyoming Valley. We are concerned that development of these sites is proceeding in spite of an absence of documentation that wind farms located in forested and/or ridgetop areas will have minimal, if any, negative environmental and ecological impacts.

Although a few studies have focused on the impacts of wind farms on grassland birds in the Great Plains, apparently none has addressed the impacts of wind farms located on ridgetops and in forested areas. We believe, therefore, that the ecological impacts of existing forest and/or ridgetop wind farms, such as the Waymart, Pennsylvania facility, be thoroughly assessed before new wind farms are constructed in such areas. Furthermore, since potential ridgetop/forest wind farm sites may differ ecologically from existing sites, we recommend that the siting and construction of new wind farms be contingent upon a demonstration that the new site is environmentally/ecologically similar to an existing site that has already undergone environmental/ecological scrutiny, and whose impacts have been shown to be negligible or nonexistent. Moreover, if a new site is permitted and developed, and if that new development proves to have unexpected impacts, or a greater impact than was expected, we recommend that steps be taken, at the developer's expense, to remedy the problem, and that if the problem can be remedied only by removing part or all of the facility, then the developer should be required, at his expense, to restore the site to at least its original condition. Until data can show that wind farms have minimal environmental/ecological impacts, we recommend that state, county, city, township, and borough planners exercise restraint when permitting such facilities.

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