The American Bird Conservancy and the Black Swamp Bird Observatory have written to Dan Ashe, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Washington, D.C., claiming “six giant wind turbines” are being built at the business park. The letter asks the service to look into the project and “take decisive action where appropriate”
After the two groups wrote to the Air National Guard to complain about a planned wind turbine at Camp Perry — and threatened a lawsuit — the guard put construction on hold and promised to carry out a new study.
The business park’s owner, James McKinney, defended the wind turbine as a green energy project and said the business park is doing its best to support the U.S. government’s efforts to turn away from fossil fuels and shift toward renewable sources of energy.
The letter to Ashe, signed by Michael Hutchins, national coordinator for the Bird Smart Wind Energy Campaign, and Kimberly Kaufman, director of Black Swamp Bird Observatory, claims wind energy at Lake Erie Business Park threatens a major corridor for migrating birds.
“It is also adjacent to a wildlife refuge and has the highest density of bald eagles in the state of Ohio,” they wrote.
McKinney, founder and chairman of Dublin Commercial Property Services Inc. in Port Clinton, said the business park actually has just one wind turbine, a 900-kilowatt machine that’s been up for about two months.
“I don’t know where they get the other five” he said.
A map on the website that shows other wind turbines is an “illustration,” he said, and no other wind turbines are currently under construction.
“We complied with all of the rules and regulations set forth by the state of Ohio” McKinney said.
He had no comment when asked if an environmental impact study was carried out before the wind turbine was built.
McKinney said it’s important to pay attention to what actually goes on at and near his wind turbine.
“We are a heavy industrial site with heavy industrial activities all around the site” he said.
Nearby Camp Perry has gunfire going on much of the time, he said.
“Our goal has been to separate us from the typical manufacturing sites by offering green energy opportunities” he said.
The Obama administration supports green energy and so does U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Toledo, who has found funding for various renewal energy projects in northern Ohio, McKinney said.
Many of the groups fighting wind energy are funded by the petroleum industry, McKinney said.
Laury Parramore, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, could not immediately confirm Ashe had received the letter. As a general rule, the agency prefers to get involved in proposed wind energy projects before they have been built, she said.
If there were allegations bald eagles had been harmed by the turbine, the agency’s law enforcement officers would investigate, she said.