CLAIM: Renewable energy development decimates wildlife and will lead to the extinction of endangered species.
Renewable energy development is environmentally friendly and less damaging to wildlife than traditional energy.
- Non-renewable energy sources “pose higher risks to wildlife” than renewable sources. Coal “is by far the largest contributor” to wildlife risks, according to researchers. (Source: New York State Research and Development Authority, http://bit.ly/MLUtb7)
- In 2007, the National Academy of Sciences estimated that wind energy is responsible for less than 0.003% of (3 of every 100,000) bird deaths caused by human (and feline) activities. (Source: National Academy of Sciences, http://bit.ly/NuJjHx)
- A 2010 report from Renewable Northwest Project found that wind energy has an insignificant impact on sage grouse populations –furthermore, a 2005 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) report concluded that traditional energy development is “the most significant extinction risk to the greater sage-grouse in the eastern portion of its range (Colorado, Wyoming and Montana).”(Source: RNP, http://bit.ly/OWHaSo)
- In an effort to preserve current wildlife habitats, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is turning to recycled land for renewable energy development. The EPA has identified 80,000 to 250,000 abandoned mine sites that could be used for solar and other renewable energy projects.(Source: Environmental Protection Agency, http://1.usa.gov/SicvDT)
- The Audubon Society, one of the oldest wildlife organizations in the world, supports “a suite of state and federal policies designed to increase energy efficiency by at least 15% by 2020, and a national renewable electricity standard that will require 25% of all electricity to be provided by renewable resources by 2025.”(The Audubon Society, http://bit.ly/Rcg7qc)
- The USFWS has developed survey protocols and guidelines for specific species to aid renewable energy developers seeking to build in habitat-sensitive regions. These species include the Desert Tortoise, the Flat tailed horned lizard, the Arroyo Toad, the Quino Checkerspot Butterfly, the San Joaquin Kit Fox, and the California Condor, among others.(Source: USFWS, http://1.usa.gov/QPJLPV)
- The California Energy Commission, California Department of Fish and Game, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are partnering to develop the “The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP), a major component of California’s renewable energy planning efforts, [which] will help provide effective protection and conservation of desert ecosystems while allowing for the appropriate development of renewable energy projects.”(Source: Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, http://www.drecp.org/)
- The National Wildlife Foundation (NWF) has praised the recent Bureau of Land Management (BLM) report that established 17 solar energy zones for future renewable energy development. Kate Zimmerman, Policy Director for Public Lands at NWF commented, “This is a huge step forward for the Bureau of Land Management, which has tended to address energy development on a project-by-project basis in response to the wants of individual companies rather than the values of the American public or the needs of fish and wildlife.”(Source: National Wildlife Foundation, http://bit.ly/PfncVG)
- The Audubon Society echoed NWF’s praise for the BLM’s solar plan, saying “The BLM solar plan demonstrates that we as Americans don’t have to choose between clean alternative energy and a healthy environment. We can have the future we want – one where we enjoy a healthy climate, and where birds and other wildlife thrive.”(Audubon Society, http://bit.ly/RQFm3C)
- Sportsmen’s groups have added their support to the BLM solar plan. In an op-ed to The Hill, Whit Fosburgh, president & CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Larry J. Schweiger, president & CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, and Chris Wood, president & CEO of Trout Unlimited commented, “We can and should produce solar energy on the many areas of this country that are perfectly suited for industrial solar development… American sportsmen stand behind this effort, and members of the Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development coalition support the [BLM’s] solid efforts so far.”(Source: The Hill, http://bit.ly/wUOeLd)