Americans are not willing to choose between wind power and wildlife

Statement of Audubon President & CEO David Yarnold on Department of Interior Wind Energy Guidelines.

‘It is common sense: with sound science and good planning we can develop wind power and protect wildlife, too. That’s no surprise to people living in the wind-energy rich West.

‘A recent bipartisan poll found that Westerners in five states believe that strong environmental protections and a new energy economy can and should be inseparable. Huge majorities – upwards of 2/3 of people surveyed – said strong environmental protections should be the foundation for strong economic growth – and that the EPA should regulate heat-trapping pollution.

‘The Interior Department’s recently announced guidelines for developing wind power are an encouraging step in the right direction. They lay the groundwork to help wean America off fossil fuels – without contaminating water supplies or putting transmission lines in fragile habitats. Even though further refinement is necessary before these policies are finalized, it’s the right approach.

‘It is also the approach Audubon has helped advance in the West. By mapping the most important sites in the region for greater sage-grouse, we’ve been able to steer energy development elsewhere – often to other locations that already bear a heavy human footprint. That includes hundreds of sites rich in wind energy potential.

‘Americans are not willing to choose between wind energy and wildlife. Fortunately, with good policy and long-term thinking, they won’t have to.’

The ‘Conservation in the West Survey’ conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, found that two-thirds of those surveyed favored dramatic increases in the amount of electricity produced by renewable sources.

Now in its second century, Audubon connects people with birds, nature and the environment that supports us all. Our national network of community-based nature centers, chapters, scientific, education, and advocacy programs engages millions of people from all walks of life in conservation action to protect and restore the natural world.