Subscribers to the list may be interested in the letter Karen and I sent 
to Suzanne Edwards of the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. Use as 
you may wish.

John Confer

To: Susanne Edwards,
       Ontario Ministry of the Environment

       cc to above email addresses.

I am a strong proponent of wind energy. As a faculty member at Ithaca 
College, NY I wrote a successful grant proposal with administrative 
support to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to fund installation 
of a wind anemometer to assess the potential wind power on our campus 
property. The test, unfortunately, documented unsatisfactory winds for 
our location. I have been on the Conservation Committee of the New York 
State Ornithological Association for many years and compiled the wind 
power resolution adopted by NYSOA. Excerpts from this resolution are 
copied below and show strong support for wind power in general, but not 
in locations such as Amherst Island with famous concentrations of 
raptors. As Coordinator (now retired) for the Environmental Studies and 
Science Programs at Ithaca College and instructor for related courses, I 
often lectured on the advantages of wind power. These include the 
renewable supply, the very limited production of greenhouse gasses, 
limited environmental degradation, and limited cultural loss when cited 
at appropriate locations. Wind power is desirable because it can help 
meet our energy needs without the downside associated with fossil fuels, 
when cited appropriately.
    My professional focus is on birds and I have more than 30 
publications and a dozen research grants in this area, and sole 
authorship and co-authorship on monographs of two warbler species in The 
Birds of North America series. Amherst Island is known internationally 
for its concentration of winter raptors. Amherst Island and the similar, 
nearby Wolfe Island provided a habitat that supported concentrations of 
winter raptors perhaps unexceeded in eastern North America. My interest 
in birds and this unique birding opportunity led me to take a half-dozen 
birding trips to Amherst Island over several decades with my wife, with 
friends, and as trip leader with other birders.
    The proposed wind power farm on Amherst Island is the perfect 
example of the implementation of a generally good concept in exactly the 
wrong place. Certainly wind power can be environmentally beneficial, but 
not when it threatens the habitat recognized for its global significance 
as a location with globally special concentrations of wintering raptors 
including uncommon species such as Short-eared Owls and other species 
rarely seen this far south such as Hawk Owls, Boreal Owls and Snowy Owls 
sometimes even in abundance. Wind power can provide energy for human 
activities without the indirect consequences of global climate change. 
But in this case, the construction and operation of a wind farm would 
destroy the environment enjoyed by many and would threaten a life style 
and culture deeply rooted in the values of island families and 
maintained even for centuries. What may be gained by a minimal impact on 
global climate change is more than offset by the degradation of a 
globally significant environment and industrialization of a rural culture.
     Bird surveys on Wolfe Island show that post-construction density of 
winter raptors is lower than on the mainland. Yet for decades birders 
have visited Wolfe and Amherst because concentrations of raptors on the 
islands were phenomenally high. Abrupt mortality due to impact with the 
blades may occasionally occur, but the abandonment of rare habitat due 
to disturbance can cause far more birds to disperse to areas where 
starvation and highway mortality are more common than on the islands. 
Wind power on the right site is environmentally beneficial in comparison 
to fossil fuels. But this generality should not be accepted as a 
rational to locate a wind farm in a site where there is every 
expectation that the direct environmental and cultural loss will be 
highly significant on the local, national, and global scale.

Respectfully submitted by
  Dr. John L. Confer, retired Coordinator for Environmental Studies at 
Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY <> <> 
<>, 607-539-6308 <tel:607-539-6308>
651 Hammond Hill Rd.
Brooktondale, NY 14817
> /Please sign the attached petition. We all know the importance of this island 
> to
> migrating raptors and passerines as well as wintering owls. Wolf Island next 
> door is
> the home of a wind farm and had been documented as one of the most 
> devastating to
> birds with so many raptors killed there. We can't allow Amherst to go down as 
> well.
> Our friends to the north thank you.
> John
> /


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