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It’s ironic and hypocritical that the Agency of Natural Resources should air “Protecting Vermont’s Wildlife: An Outdoor Journal Special” this Thursday on Vermont Public Television while granting permits for useless wind projects that are killing birds and bats, destroying wildlife and human habitat, and headwater streams and wetlands.
The ANR is allowing the wind developers to do their own post-construction fatality studies. Green Mountain Power plans to use the favored wind developer environmental consultant, Stantec, to do its post-construction bat searches and fatality study. Stantec has done the bogus pre-construction surveys for almost every wind project in the Northeast. When Stantec’s Adam Gravel was asked at the Lowell Public Service Board hearing if he was concerned about cumulative impacts of wind projects on birds and bats, he gave a one-word answer, “No.”
Apparently, ANR isn’t concerned either.
A June 6 Caledonian Record article would make it seem that the draft permit would “only” allow the killing of seven endangered bats. It fails to mention that there are no restrictions on the amount of kills of “not yet endangered” bat species. In fact, First Wind’s post-construction bird and bat fatality report for Sheffield reported the finding of 63 bat carcasses (of course, none of the endangered species), but when searcher inefficiency and scavenger predation were figured in, the estimate for bat fatalities was 235 bats (low estimate 160; high estimate 361).
When Scott Darling and ANR attorney David Englander were asked at the Sheffield public hearing what would happen if more than seven “endangered bats” were killed, their answer was that First Wind would have to pay $2,000 per bat. Peanuts to a private company that has received over $450 million of our tax dollars in federal government grants.
ANR should hold separate public hearings for both Lowell and Georgia Mountain “take” permits and start doing their job of protecting wildlife rather than the profits of GMP, David Blittersdorf and First Wind for their useless wind factories. Curtailing these projects on summer nights during bat season, when there is little wind and no demand for their power anyway, would be a start.
Public comment on the draft permit can be made until Friday. Please comment to ANR and demand public hearings on these permit applications.
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