Letter: Misquote repeated in editorial

April 17, 2014 

Regarding the Herald's April 7 editorial, wind power is providing Americans with affordable, reliable power while helping to preserve our natural environment.

No energy source can claim to be completely free of impacts, but American wind power is proud of its record as the leading source of utility-scale electricity with the lowest environmental impacts.

While some eagles do occasionally collide with some turbines at some wind farms, this is not a common occurrence. Leading causes of eagle fatalities include lead poisoning, poisoning in general, electrocution, collisions with vehicles, drowning in stock tanks and illegal shootings. Unlike these sources, the wind industry conducts intensive pre- and post-construction surveys, reports the results to the authorities, and undertakes expensive efforts to avoid, minimize and mitigate for unavoidable impacts.

The number of eagle deaths cited in the editorial repeats an Associated Press misquote of the results of a 2013 study conducted by biologists at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which noted wind energy was responsible for 85 eagle fatalities during a 15-year period, not a single year. Approximately 2,500 eagles are killed every year by all human sources.

We must weigh the costs and benefits of our decisions when choosing how to power our energy future, and nonpolluting, fuel-free wind power is among the smartest options.

JOHN ANDERSON, American Wind Energy Association

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