Maine Audubon and National Audubon recently submitted input on the scope of the environmental assessment for the New England Aqua Ventus I offshore wind energy project.
You can read the full letter here (pdf). In it, we requested a more formal and detailed Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for this project. As the letter explains:
Generating energy from offshore wind is potentially a promising opportunity for Maine and elsewhere in the US, and National and Maine Audubon support developing renewable energy sources as long as they are sited in a way that minimize risks and impacts to wildlife and wildlife habitat. However, we know very little about how wildlife species use Maine’s coastal and offshore waters.
For example, we do not know the location of foraging sites for most seabird species, including endangered Roseate Terns, bird and bat migration routes, behavioral responses to turbine activities, and the indirect and direct risks posed by offshore wind power development. Even if passing migrants avoid collisions with turbines, as has been observed at some wind sites in Europe, indirect impacts through avoidance behaviors and habitat alterations may cause cumulative damage to sensitive species. It is essential we have a greater understanding of how wildlife uses the area around the test site before permits for any turbines are issued.
Monhegan Island is a unique location with special importance for both people and wildlife. Migrating birds in particular rely on the island as a stop-over during long migrations. Minimizing and monitoring the wildlife impacts of this project should be paramount in its planning, permitting, and implementation.