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LADWP wants to kill endangered California condors at wind farm

 

LOS ANGELES, CA February 22, 2022 – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Thursday an application had been filed by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power for a permit to “take”, defined as “to kill or injure”, California condors at its Pine Tree Wind Farm. Presumably, taking would be accomplished by the spinning blades of the farm’s 90 wind turbines, each of which is 339 feet tall.

Located in Tehachapi the PTWF is the largest municipally-owned wind power project in the U.S. Completed in less than two years, the project produces 135 megawatts (MW) of clean energy through 90 1.5-MW wind turbines and powers 56,000 households in the Los Angeles area.

According to the LA Times,tThe Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s Pine Tree wind farm, came under federal investigation in 2012 in connection with eight golden eagle carcasses found at the site over the previous two years.

Roughly 100 captive-bred condors currently soar above this rugged range between the Mojave Desert and the fertile Central Valley. Although there has yet to be a documented case of a wind turbine injuring or killing a condor, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says condor collisions are inevitable if the population continues to balloon.

Ileene Anderson, a biologist with the Center for Biological DiversityCritics said the problem is fundamental. “The increasing mortality at Pine Tree clearly points to wind turbines built in the wrong location. The utility needs to redesign its 250-megawatt Pine Tree network and Kern County needs to put a moratorium on construction of nearby wind farms to prevent deaths.

The California condor is the largest North American land bird, with a wingspan of up to 10 ft. It became extinct in the wild in 1987, but has since been reintroduced to northern Arizona, southern Utah, the coastal mountains of California, and Baja California in Mexico. The species is listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as Critically Endangered, with an estimated 500 individuals known to exist.

Whether condors have been killed at the farm already is unknown.

“Yet another example of the harmful land-use impacts of so-called ‘renewable’ energy,” said Gene Nelson, Legal Analyst for Californians for Green Nuclear Power. “Developers deliberately build wind and solar farms in remote areas so their environmental impacts remain out of sight. This wind farm has been in operation since 2009, raising the question ‘How many condors have already been killed?’.”

Interested parties may file comments by email at [email protected], using the subject line “Pine Tree Wind Farm Incidental Take Permit”. The period for public comment ends March 21.

 

 

 

Award-winning HMG-CN is a hyper -local community news and investigative print newspaper in Los Angeles and Orange Counties.  Covering Cerritos, Artesia, Hawaiian Gardens, Lakewood, Norwalk, La Mirada Lamplighter Community Newspaper, La Palma, Commerce, Downey, Bellflower, Pico Rivera.

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