Cumberland Times-News

December 2, 2013

Bird mortality numbers vary for Criterion Wind venture

Independent study shows higher fatality figures than those estimated by project’s official study

Elaine Blaisdell
Cumberland Times-News

— OAKLAND — Although the Criterion Wind project on Backbone Mountain is the deadliest industrial wind project in North America for bats and birds, numbers provided by an officer of Save the Eagles International vary from those estimated by the project’s official study.

Jim Wiegand, vice president of Save the Eagles International, is estimating that the project is killing 25,000 birds and bats a year. Wiegand based his fatality figure on the 2011 post-construction monitoring study, which included daily searches and his own knowledge from decades of studying wildlife. However, data gathered at Criterion by Western Ecosystems Technology Inc. doesn’t suggest that the numbers are as high as Wiegand estimated, according to Robert Judge, Mid-Atlantic regional manager of Exelon Power’s communications.

Wiegand noted that the monitoring study didn’t search a wide enough area and didn’t include the number of bird and bat carcasses located past the wind turbine blade length.

“They did not even look as far out as the blade length for carcasses around these turbines,” said Wiegand.