by Dr. Roy Cordato
Senior Economist, Emeritas
Weekly John Locke Foundation research division newsletter focusing on environmental issues.
The newsletter highlights relevant analysis done by the JLF and other think tanks as well as items in the news.
1. Proposed wind power plant "country’s biggest eagle killer" say conservation groups
A consortium of environmental groups including the Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, the American Bird Conservancy, and the Western Watersheds Project are protesting the likely approval by the U.S. Deptartment of the Interior of a 220,000 acre, 1000 turbine wind power plant to be sited in Wyoming. The project is known as the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project and it is being proposed by the Power Company of Wyoming. The groups claim that "this project is on track to become the single most deadly wind farm for eagles in the country." In a release put out by the American Bird Conservancy (ABC), it is claimed that:
The project will have a major impact on birds of prey, particularly Golden Eagles, as well as Greater Sage-Grouse, a candidate for Endangered Species Act listing. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) estimated in the FEIS [Final Environmental Impact Statement] that Golden Eagle fatalities could be 46-64 eagles each year. Other estimates put this figure as high as 215 Golden Eagles. Even at the lower mortality rate, that would make Chokecherry comparable to Altamont Pass in California, where wind power-related mortality was found to have a significant impact in depressing eagle populations.
The ABC is suggesting that the Interior Department is ignoring these and other assessments of the project in order to push it through.
The proposed Plan Amendment for the project does not provide the bare minimum in protection required by BLM’s own Management Plan, as well as other federal regulations and law. There are a multitude of unacceptable levels of impact, including siting the project on excellent sage-grouse habitat that was gerrymandered out of lands classified as key Wyoming sage-grouse areas specifically so this project could be built.
2. Christian Science Monitor Examines Relationship Between Coal, Regulation, and Natural Gas
This article looks at both the impact on the coal industry of new federal regulations for mercury and carbon dioxide, which go into effect in a few years, and the impact of very low natural gas prices, the most important substitute for coal in generating electricity. It is a very even-handed discussion of the issue and is well worth reading.
For a more editorial perspective on the issue that argues that the EPA is indeed the main culprit responsible for the problems being faced by the coal industry, see this article by William Yeatman at GlobalWarming.org.
3. Ozone Report
The 2012 ozone season began on April 1 and each week during the ozone season this newsletter reports how many, if any, high ozone days have been experienced throughout the state during the previous week, where they were experienced, and how many have been recorded during the entire season to date. The ozone season will end on October 31. All reported data is from the North Carolina Division of Air Quality, which is part of the state’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
During the period October 8 to October 14 there were no reported high ozone readings on North Carolina’s ozone monitors. Since the beginning of the ozone season there have been 111 high ozone readings over 16 days on North Carolina monitors.
Click here for the Environmental Update archive.