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Letter in Grand Junction Sentinel

Letter in Grand Junction Sentinel

The below letter ran in the Colorado Grand Junction Sentinel

Wind energy association director refutes claims about wind power

This letter is in response to the Aug. 13 letter that makes several false claims regarding wind power, the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and its overall impact on wildlife.

Historically, all American energy sources have been subsidized, and wind is no exception. Tax relief incentives like the PTC have helped all of our domestic energy industries to grow and produce the energy that our economy needs to function and prosper.

Thanks to support from Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, wind power creates thousands of jobs in Colorado, and wind project owners have made $10 million in annual tax payments to the state. In total, the American wind industry currently attracts up to $20 billion in private investment annually, all driven by the PTC, which more than pays for itself in taxes and other economic benefits from wind farms.

While birds occasionally collide with the approximately 35,000 wind turbines existing in the U.S. today, based on a study prepared by the National Wind Coordinating Collaborative in 2010, it is estimated that fewer than 200,000 birds are unintentionally killed annually.

In contrast, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and other organizations estimate that annual bird deaths from collisions with buildings range from 97 million to 976 million, 60 million or more may be killed by vehicles, and up to 2 million are killed in oil and wastewater pits

Even with its relatively low impacts, the wind industry is held to a higher standard and does more to study, avoid, minimize and mitigate any wildlife impacts than any other industry. Additionally, through improved siting practices and regular coordination with regulators and conservation organizations, the wind industry is constantly striving to reduce its impacts.

JOHN ANDERSON
Director of Siting Policy
American Wind Energy Association
Washington, DC

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John M. Anderson is Senior Director of Siting Policy for the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). In this capacity Anderson is an industry leader in the area of siting policy and advocacy, and guides the industry in addressing siting issues as they relate to wildlife, sound/health impacts, property values, visual and cultural resources, aviation, and radar. He has long been involved in some of the key siting challenges facing the industry, including issues related to threatened and endangered avian and bat species. Prior to joining AWEA, Anderson was Eastern Regional Manager of Environmental Affairs for BP Wind Energy where he was the senior environmental permitting and policy advisor responsible for the development of new wind energy projects in the eastern half of the U.S. as well as management of post-construction environmental issues at BP Wind’s operating facilities across the U.S. Anderson has a B.S. in Environmental Science and Management and a minor in Environmental Law from the University of Rhode Island and has over 20 years of professional experience in the areas of environmental analysis, planning, permitting, and regulation.

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