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Wind Power

Climate Change represents the greatest current threat to our native biodiversity. Audubon strongly supports the development of renewable energy sources. However it is also critical that these new energy sources be developed in a manner that minimizes direct and indirect impacts to native wildlife. Learn about Audubon’s efforts to ensure environmentally responsible development of renewable energy sources.

Climate change represents the greatest current threat to our native biodiversity, and Portland Audubon strongly supports the development of renewable energy sources. However, it is also critical that these new energy sources be developed in a manner that minimizes direct and indirect impacts to native wildlife. Learn about Audubon’s efforts to ensure environmentally responsible development of renewable energy sources:

Sage Grouse - Scott Carpenter
Sage Grouse - Scott Carpenter

Groups file petition to revoke Steens transmission line approval

March 7, 2013 — Audubon Society of Portland and Oregon Natural Desert Association have petitioned Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to revoke the decision to allow industrial scale wind development on Steens Mountain.

The crumbling financial and regulatory framework for a proposed industrial wind facility on Steens Mountain has spurred on conservationists to petition the Secretary of the Interior to withdraw its approval of the project, which they contest is ill-sited and illegal. The December 2011 decision approved a plan allowing a developer, Columbia Energy Partners, LLC (CEP) to build a high-capacity transmission and dozens of wind turbines on the remote and iconic mountain, located in southeast Oregon. The decision was legally challenged by both groups based on the risk of serious harm to wildlife including sage-grouse and golden eagles.

Read the petition | Read the press release | Read a Bend Bulletin article on the petition

Leading Scientists Blast Steens Mountain Wind Proposal For Devastating Wildlife Impacts

Oct. 4, 2012 — Sage-grouse and golden eagle populations on Steens Mountain would be greatly harmed by the proposed industrial wind energy development and high-voltage transmission line, according to leading wildlife experts in court filings today. 

Two Oregon conservation groups — Oregon Natural Desert Association and Audubon Society of Portland — are in federal court challenging BLM’s approval of the industrial Echanis Wind Project and a 49-mile transmission line which would cut through the heart of pristine wildlife habitat on Steens Mountain. Read the full press release. More information:

Steens wind brief - filed Oct. 5, 2012
Declaration of Dr. Clait Braun - filed Oct. 5, 2012
Declaration of Brent Fenty - filed Oct. 5, 2012
Declaration of Dr. Craig Miller - filed Oct. 5, 2012
Declaration of Dr. Shawn Smallwood - filed Oct. 5, 2012
Declaration of Robert Sallinger - filed Oct. 5, 2012

Malheur - Bob Sallinger

Steens Mountain Threatened by Massive Wind Development

April 5, 2012 — Plans to build an industrial-scale wind facility on Steens Mountain in southeastern Oregon’s high desert were challenged by the Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA) and Audubon Society of Portland today. The lawsuit seeks to block what the conservation groups claim is an illegal project by the Department of the Interior that would forever change an otherwise wild and beautiful landscape. 

In December, the Secretary of the Interior approved a plan allowing the developer to build up to 70 wind turbines and a high-capacity transmission line on the remote and iconic mountain, located in southeast Oregon. Electricity generated by the wind project will be sent to southern California as part of an agreement with Southern California Edison; approximately half of the project cost will be subsidized by taxpayers according to project financing documents. Critics argue that Oregonians should not be asked to sacrifice Steens Mountain to a Washington-based, New York-financed company in order to generate electricity for California. Read more.

Golden Eagle - Don Baccus
Golden Eagle - Don Baccus

USFWS Considering Golden Eagle Take Permits at Oregon Wind Farm

US Fish and Wildlife Service is considering issuing permits to allow the take of Golden Eagles at an Oregon wind facility. These would be the first permits ever issued for this purpose. Portland Audubon, California Audubon and National Audubon Society have joined together to comment on this proposal. Audubon has deep concerns about the potential impacts of this project and the data that is being used to support this decision.

US Fish and Wildlife Eagle Permit Page

Read Audubon Comments

Audubon and ONDA Team Up to Fight Steens Mountain Wind Project

Sept. 4, 2008 — Both Audubon Society of Portland and Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA) are strong supporters of renewable energy development including wind power. It is critical that the United States wean itself from climate changing fossil fuels and the development of renewable energy sources in Oregon will drive our green economy. However not all renewable energy projects are green. There are energy speculators willing to game the system and take advantage of the state’s strong renewable energy mandates. In the coming years, the spread of wind farms will radically transform significant portions of terrestrial landscape -- often overlapping with our most sensitive wildlife areas. Although we must move quickly, we must also move carefully and thoughtfully. Read more.

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