Energy + Wildlife

While the public and many decision-makers generally believe that wind energy is environmentally benign, it may entail significant impacts to wildlife and essential habitats.

State fish and wildlife agencies are involved in different aspects of wind power development and to different degrees (e.g., consultation with developers, review of permits, cooperation with other states agencies and utility regulators).

However, when it comes to impacts on wildlife, relatively little is known about how to predict mortality events and impacts associated with degradation or loss of habitat. Direct, indirect and cumulative impacts analysis are often lacking and state agencies are facing numerous challenges when it comes to managing wildlife resources while trying to balance growing energy requirements.

In response, the Association established a Wind Energy Subcommittee to work cooperatively with public and private interests to protect fish and wildlife resources and their habitats during the exploration, development and production of wind energy.

Currently, the subcommittee is addressing a number of topics including the upcoming revision of the USFWS Draft Guidelines through the FACA process; developing a relationship with the public utility commissions; developing guidance for states including partnering with the Clean Energy States Alliance in state-level discussions; and increasing communication with federal agencies in the U.S., Canada and Mexico on wind energy guidance development.

The Subcommittee also engaged with the National Wind Coordinating Committee (NWCC) and is a founding member of the American Wind Wildlife Institute.

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