Guest blog by David Miller

Does industrial wind and wildlife really mix well? I would suggest no. There has been much research into the affects of industrial wind turbines and its deadly affect on bats and birds, but little to none on mammals.

The effects on both livestock and wildlife are starting to be realized by land owners, and by hunters and trappers. The effects of wind turbines on domestic animals are thankfully starting to be recorded, such as 100 goats dying in Taiwan because they could not feed. The turbines noise kept them “instinctively on alert” for predators to the point they could not eat. The livestock of an Ontario cattle rancher having many still born and what few calves were born were attacked by their mothers who kicked and bit them, others refused to nurse their young as a result of the affects of newly installed industrial size wind turbines. These are but two recorded and reported examples. Domesticated animals cannot escape the noise and shadow flicker of wind turbines because of their restricted (fenced in) range resulting in these types of incidents.

The higher forms of wildlife such as deer, bear, moose, and many furbearers take the option of leaving the immediate area of industrial wind complexes. But by this action, they are forced into habitat that is already occupied resulting in conflicts such as over browsing and an increased rate of predation. These activities have been recorded in various locations where industrial turbine complexes have become operational. The loss of habitat due to road, transmission line, and turbine site construction also results in the loss of thousands of acres of habitat. The affects of the turbines on the lower forms of wildlife such as rodents, snakes, and even insects is an unknown to date. They all have their place in the chain of life and any single loss will affect other wildlife and also the overall environment.

The hydrology of the mountains may also be impacted by the deep bed rock blasting that is required to make the foundations for the 400+ foot tall wind turbines. This may affect our drinking water supplies and the surface waters that hold various species of life including our beloved cold water brook trout and landlocked salmon fisheries.

Fragile and rare high alpine vegetation will be destroyed by mountain top wind development. In places such as Maine, moose will be driven off the high mountains sides where many go to have the cold temperatures of winter freeze off their tick infestations that can if bad enough weaken them to the point that they may parish. The pine martin, one of the most valuable of our fur bearers thrives on mountains with heavy spruce growth. Our depleted northern deer herds will be further stressed and damaged due to the fact that the low frequency noise and construction will force them from current habitat. The use of herbicides to prevent re-vegetation may cause long term harm to wildlife, aqueduct species, and maybe our own drinking water. The possibility of forest fires will be greatly increased due to lighting strikes to the turbines and overheated gearbox lubricants igniting. This is in areas mostly far removed from any firefighting equipment and men.

The affects of industrial wind on wildlife (other than bats and birds) is not being actively researched by various federal and state fish and game departments due to several reasons, such as a lack of funding and most commonly due to political pressure where state administrations do not want anything negative being brought to light. This is because they support wind power development along with its tax incentives, stimulus monies, political gains, and of course their own long term pocket wealth over that of the welfare of wildlife. The loss of revenues generated by wildlife such as licensing fees and employment related to hunting, fishing and trapping industries which generates millions annually for the states affected by industrial wind is not in their greedy equations.

It must be noted that the scientific and medical communities are realizing the effects of low frequency noise and the strobe affect of the blades in sun light that cause mental and medical problems in humans. Even this is being contested and down played by the big wind companies with their multitude of lawyers and our greedy politicians who gain to lose face and wealth by opposing big wind. They are doing all they can to discredit those who oppose big wind. Along with that, they come into communities where they want to place commercial wind turbine complexes and buy off the local governments and tax payers with bribes of reduced electrical fees, offers to pay for lawyers to represent the local communities during negotiations, and cash settlements with private individuals who have to sign agreements not to publicly oppose them for the duration. Here in Maine we are staged to lose over 350 miles of mountain tops along with many thousands of acres of habitat. Most of the land is privately owned and the land owners cannot be blamed because of upfront monies, reduced tax burdens, and long term leases. This is all done with stimulus funding which are our federal tax monies or that borrowed by our current federal administration from foreign countries which will hurt generations of Americans for many decades. The sad part is that wind power generation is not even cost effective, nor does it reduce carbon emissions because more coal and oil fired generation plants must be built to back up wind power generation which is a variable dependent on wind. These are the basic reasons I feel that commercial wind generation is not beneficial to wild life, along with consideration of its impact to the human race.

I ask that you form your own opinion on this matter, but please educate yourself on the pro’s and con’s of this subject before forming that opinion. There are many websites that will educate one. All you need to do is search or Google industrial wind or wind turbines.

Dave Miller, Lexington TWP, ME

Dave Miller is a Maine resident, an outdoor writer and a member of the Carrabassett Valley Trappers Association.