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Letter: Replacing coal, gas with wind is preferable

It broke my heart when I read the Audubon society’s “Birds and Climate Change Report.” Audubon studied 588 North American bird species.

If climate change is not brought under control, 314 of those species will lose more than 50 percent of their range by 2080. A major cause of this is coal and gas-powered electric power plants. Read the Audubon report.

The Lighthouse wind turbines proposed for Somerset are an example of energy production without contributing to Climate Change. The turbines offer our birds a chance to avoid “extinction.”

Opponents of wind farms often indict turbines as bird killers. In a peer-reviewed study by Professor Benjamin Sovacool, wind farms have produced a net gain of 160,000 birds per gigawatt hours in New York State.

A recent writer predicted high turbine related bird deaths over the span of 30 years.

With advanced technology, flight pattern studies and the ability to slow or halt turbine blades, these predictions are totally out of context and not credible.

Recent studies by teams of authors independent of the wind energy industry headed by Anna Calvert and Scott Loss address this issue of bird mortality from human-related intervention.

They report that cats, buildings, cars, power lines and communication towers far outnumber wind turbines regarding bird deaths.

Climate Change eats up the forests and fields which sustain these birds. Sovacool sets the ratio of bird loss by fossil fuels to wind as 14/1. We must, of course, retain our concern for “the fall of a sparrow:” any bird death needs to be justified. But look at the numbers.

Clearly replacing coal and gas by wind causes a decline in bird deaths – and, of course, our own as well.

Sara Schultz

Sierra Club Niagara Chair

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