Comments Filed Urging FWS to Reject Proposed Changes to Wind Guidelines

Last week, we filed comments on behalf of Friends of Blackwater Canyon, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Animal Welfare Institute, and the Wildlife Advocacy Project, on the recent changes to the Revised Draft Voluntary Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines, proposed by the subcommittees of the Wind Guidelines Federal Advisory Committee. Previously we had submitted comments on the original wind guidelines released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in February 2011 as well as the second draft of the guidelines released in July 2011. In this third round of comments, we urged FWS to reject those changes recommended by the subcommittees that were adverse to wildlife interests, and to allow the public to submit comments on any such changes that it may consider adopting. We explained that the proposed changes are more likely to harm rather than help wildlife. For example, FWS would be placed in a difficult position with respect to enforcement action against wind energy project developers because the proposed changes would allow developers to merely document FWS recommendations and their own reasons for “disagreeing” with the FWS to show compliance with the guidelines. All in all, the proposed changes would give wind developers enough scope to come up with their own interpretations of the guidelines, and pressure FWS biologists that the project will proceed if FWS did not meet the arbitrary 30-60 day review period.
More information on the subcommittees’ recommendations is available here: http://www.fws.gov/windenergy/news.html