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Need scientific study of effect of wind turbines on bird population

  • Published in Letters

To The Daily Sun,

An environmental disaster is brewing on the banks of Newfound Lake and its problem is blowing in the wind. The proposed Wild Meadows Wind Farm project is just a few miles off the lakeshore — the second of its kind on the Newfound Lake — and it has residents fuming.

It's a totally different vibe from what took place in Groton back in 2012, when the Iberdrola company erected a similar project at the north end of Newfound Lake. The Groton Wind Farm was rammed into fruition with little warning to residents.

Local politicians quickly took note after intense political pressure from a well-organized group of local residents came forth in November 2012, when three additional wind farms were proposed.

The questions that remains are: can this area support nine renewable energy projects? Will turbines outweigh potential collateral damage to wilderness, birds, bats and fish — not to mention aesthetic and noise considerations, as well as possible watershed pollution?

Should projects like wind farms in the Lakes Regions be allowed or should they be fast-tracked? Are the lakes in the region worth protecting? Was the word "scenic" removed from N.H. license plates for this very reason? Will wind turbines now be referred to as the state's birch tree on steroids (the great white birch)?

These next few wind projects will bring 100+ turbines, as high as 500-feet tall, to the shores of Newfound Lake. Will this spell disaster for our tourism? Resident are leading an effort to quash further wind development. There are environmental hazards with locating these turbines too close to our watersheds and the lake.

Several lakeshore towns are on the official voting record for opposing them. Town votes have grown exponentially in opposition from first-and-second town hall votes.

Many of us have spent our lives taking care of Newfound Lake and its environment. And we understand that wind developers want their turbines everywhere — it's a simple corporate strategy tied to corporate greed. Investors want more turbines in operation so they can collect more federal subsidies. More federal subsidies equals higher profit margins.

Residents see it a little differently. We view the skies around here as a superhighway in the sky. And we believe a scientific study needs to be performed to analyze the effects of wind turbines on birds, loons and eagles along with other lake ecology tests first.

We simply don't believe that there won't be any negative environmental impacts on our community, especially with Groton residents now identifying their problems.

One Groton resident outlined his simple "bird death formula" for me: He said imagine if each wind turbine kills two birds per year. Groton has twenty-four turbines and Wild Meadows will have twenty-three turbines — over 20 years — that's an estimated 1,900 birds killed. And if all four wind farms are built the "bird death calculator" jumps to 4,000 birds killed. He later identified his formula as being extremely conservative, saying it's more likely a bird or bat is killed monthly by each turbine.

Food for thought...

Ray Cunningham