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Friday, March 25, 2016
ENP STAFF REPORTS
news@eastniagarapost.com


The proposed Lighthouse Wind Project in Somerset and Yates has a new opponent: The American Bird Conservancy.

The conservation group has listed Lighthouse as one of the 10 worst proposed wind energy projects for birds due to "vast numbers of migratory songbirds and numbers of raptors rely on this area; close to breeding habitat for declining grassland birds."

The group states in a report "10 of the Worst-Sited Wind Energy Projects For Birds," published Thursday, that the proposed location on the Lake Ontario Shore "boasts one of the greatest bird migrations in North America. Up to 71 turbines are planned for an area along the south shore of Lake Ontario. These 570-foot-tall turbines will extend 4.5 miles inland from the lake along a 12-mile stretch. Vast numbers of songbirds and raptors concentrate within six miles of the shoreline during spring and fall of each year. This area also has pockets of key habitat for sensitive grassland birds, which could be displaced by the wind turbines. Federally protected Bald Eagles from a nearby wildlife refuge are also at risk."

"FWS has expressed serious concern about this project, warning the developer that this is an area of extremely high avian use. However, the developer appears to be going ahead with its plans, conducting its own studies, disputing previous work done by other researchers, and ignoring the concerns of local residents," the published report concluded.

Local opponents of the wind farm seized on the report.

Somerset Supervisor Dan Engert said, "In spite of the local concerns and opposition expressed on a number of issues concerning this ill-placed project by local residents, the Town of Somerset is extremely disappointed that the developer appears to be going ahead with its plans, conducting its own studies, disputing previous work done by other researchers, and ignoring the concerns of local residents."

Mike Parr, ABC Vice President and Chief Conservation Officer. “This list is intended to demonstrate that, under the present voluntary guidelines, there is an inadequate system of checks and balances to protect American native birds from poorly planned wind development on a large scale.”  



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