National Audubon Society Shows
Support for Wind Power
Nov 13, 2006 Wind Energy Weekly
National Audubon Society Shows Support for Wind
Power Pointing to the link between global warming
and the birds and other wildlife that scientists
assert it will kill, the National Audubon Society
said that it "strongly supports wind power as a
clean alternative energy source."
The show of support came via a column called Audubon
View published in the organization's November-December
issue of its membership magazine and written by
Audubon President John Flicker. "As the threats
of global warming loom ever larger, alternative
energy sources like wind power are essential," wrote
Flicker, who visited the AWEA offices this week.
Flicker emphasized the importance of prudent siting
and the need for his organization and its chapters
to work with the wind energy industry. "Modern wind
turbines are much safer for birds than their predecessors,
but if they are located in the wrong places, they
can still be hazardous and can fragment critical
habitat," said Flicker.
In an interview with Wind Energy Weekly, Flicker
said that the organization's decision to speak out
about wind came as a result of the recent increased
urgency on the part of the scientific community
with respect to global warming. Specifically, he
cited a recent study by John Hansen for the National
Academy of Sciences suggesting that if greenhouse
gases are not reduced in the next decade, a significant
amount of plants and animals could face extinction
by the middle of the century. "It creates a sense
of urgency beyond anything we have seen before,"
said Flicker, adding that he wanted to ensure his
organization is not an obstacle for wind power but
a help. "I want to make sure Audubon is doing everything
we can to promote both conservation and wind energy."
Flicker summed up the Audubon perspective with stark
directness. "When you look at a wind turbine, you
can find the bird carcasses and count them," he
said. "With a coal-fired power plant, you can't
count the carcasses, but it's going to kill a lot
In his column, Flicker noted how Mass Audubon,
an independent state Audubon organization in Massachusetts,
recently completed an extensive review of the Cape
Wind project, a study that "set a new standard for
analyzing the potential effects of wind turbines
on birds." Flicker told Wind Energy Weekly that
he would do everything he could to help advance
wind energy. "We want to figure out ways to cooperate
as much as we can to make the wind industry grow
while making wind power safer for birds," he said.
One concrete example of Flicker and Audubon advocating
for wind power: in his column, he urged readers
to contact Members of Congress and ask them to make
the Production Tax Credit for wind power permanent.
While Audubon chapters operate somewhat independently, Flicker said the decision
to support wind came from feedback back and forth
between the national society and the state organizations.
(Individuals are members of both the national society
and state affiliates.) "What we want to do is educate
our members and give them guidance," he said, explaining
that 'we give each other guidance."