23 March 2012 New Wind-energy Policy Could Make Wind Farms Safer for Wildlife Posted by: James Navarro | Leave a comment | Share: The new guidelines encourage "smart from the start" wind-energy development. BREAKING: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) released today voluntary guidelines for wildlife and wind energy development. The guidelines could improve on how wind energy development is done today — encouraging the use of the best available scientific information and early public engagement in a project’s planning phase, as well as post-construction wildlife monitoring and a comprehensive strategy for mitigating unavoidable impacts. “Wind energy is an important part of our clean energy future, but to fully realize the benefits of wind power, projects have to be built in the right ways and right places to avoid and minimize their impacts on wildlife,” said Jamie Rappaport Clark, Defenders’ president and CEO. “If implemented correctly, these guidelines will become part of a larger approach that encourages renewable energy companies to be ‘smart from the start’.” The guidelines apply to private and public lands, imperiled wildlife (like many bat species) not already protected by the Endangered Species or Migratory Bird Treaty acts, and habitats not under FWS’ jurisdiction – lessening the likelihood that wind energy projects will further threaten species in decline. “Responsible wind energy development means requiring strong standards for protecting wildlife and their habitats. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s wind energy guidelines are a good first step,” she said. Defenders of Wildlife sat on the federal advisory committee – comprised of scientists, industry representatives, state and federal agencies, tribes, conservation organizations and others – whose recommendations formed the foundation for the new guidelines. “These guidelines were developed after lengthy discussions with scientists, conservation organizations, wind industry representatives, tribes, state wildlife agencies and the Fish and Wildlife Service. Wind-energy developers who choose to follow the voluntary guidelines will have more certainty that their projects can move forward,” Clark said. Post Your Comment Click here to cancel reply. Name (required) Mail (required) (will not be published) You May also be interested in Wolf Weekly Wrap-Up Helicopter gunning kills 23 wolves in Idaho; Urge Secretary Jewell to abandon gray wolf delisting proposal — Call your representative by March 14; Washington wildlife agency urged to end support for abolishing federal wolf protections; The latest on Governor Otter’s wolf control board. Two Too Many Development Projects in the Ivanpah Valley While these projects most definitely directly impact a species that has been identified as threatened and is dependent on the habitat where they would be built, Silver State South and Stateline’s approval is most troubling for a bigger reason. You see, this isn’t just an issue for the Ivanpah Valley. Developers and agencies need to be conscious of how and where they plan energy projects all across the country. They need to look at renewable energy planning with a landscape-wide lens, understanding that building in the right places and making an effort to minimize environmental impacts from the start are essential. California’s Rim Fire: Opportunities Rise from the Ashes After California’s devastating Rim Fire, will officials take the opportunity to give nature a chance to fully recover?