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Altamont Pass bird kill is even higher

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POSTED October 17, 2013 12:16 a.m.

Editor, Manteca Bulletin,

For years I have been helping to educate millions that wind energy is not “green” but a National disgrace. So I was very glad to see your column (Dennis Wyatt: “Want to kill a federally protected eagle? Place a wind turbine on the Altamont Pass” on Oct. 14, 2013).

I want to clear up a few minor points. Altamont Pass is going through a massive expansion. When they are finished they will have two to three times more total deadly rotor sweep than all the combined rotor sweep of the 5,000 earlier model turbines. Even so the APRWA will not exceed 580 MW capacity on paper. The new turbines will have blade tip speeds approximately 33% faster. They will also have slower cut in speeds so they will spin more throughout the year.  Altamont Pass has not reduced their mortality they only changed their research methodology so it would appear so. They are actually now finding about twice as many bodies as they did when the lawsuit was settled with CARE and Audubon while proclaiming mortality reductions.

 I also believe from my research of the wind industry and all the Altamont studies, the true mortality at Altamont is between 50,000 to100,000 bird and bat fatalities per year. This is more than 10 times the number stated in your article.  

In the 1998-2003 study only actually found about 11 dead eagles a year but estimated the total to be 116 per year.  The latest studies are finding about 21 per year and the estimates have been lowered to about 40 to 50 eagles per year. Also included in the raptor mortality list and hidden until recently is the fact that Altamont has been killing Peregrine falcons.

 Lastly Altamont is required to keep track of their eagle and bird mortality, most other wind farms are not. The point I am trying to make is that there are other wind farms with higher mortality.  If proper studies were conducted I believe the Kennedy Ranch turbines located close to Padre Island in Texas would show at least twice the mortality. 

Jim Wiegand

Oct. 15, 2013

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