Avian mortality and wind energy production in Texas

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Date

2007-12

Authors

Ford, Scott A.

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Abstract

Wind energy development and its stigma of avian mortality provide a case for exploring the complexities that can occur between science, law, politics, and planning. The present method of measuring mortality appears flawed and may hamper the ability of resource agencies, the public, and industry in making educated decisions about siting wind farms and protecting species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has the ability to take an active role and affect a project already constructed. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act appears to keep the issue of avian mortality within the minds of wind energy developers. Protecting species on the brink of extinction is codified in the Endangered Species Act, which seems to be well suited for protecting most species. The significance of avian mortality can be linked to public perceptions. The industry in Texas has taken the approach of not sharing avian-related data, except in very few instances. Providing such substantial federal incentives through the Production Tax Credit rather than direct federal funding bypasses the National Environmental Policy Act and its requirement that federal governments consider impacts to the environment.

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