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Karen Zatkulak, KTVB — November 18, 2014
BOISE – Wind farms are popping up all across our region. In Idaho alone, there are around 600 turbines generating energy.
The alternative resource could be endangering local wildlife, including many species of birds. In fact, it’s estimated that 2,500 birds die each year in Idaho from wind turbines.
7 Investigates looked into who is keeping track of those fatalities and whether any action is being taken against the facilities where deaths occur.
We found out that there are no clear answers as to how the wind farms are being monitoring or exactly how many birds are dying.
ONE WIND FARM’S STORY
Randy Joseph operates Lime Wind in eastern Oregon.
He has owned the six turbines for three years, and runs the facility along with the help of his two sons.
Lime Wind was the first wind energy development to open on Bureau of Land Management land in Oregon, and Joseph says that prompted plenty of studies about the turbines’ possible affect on local wildlife.
He says protecting the birds and animals that live nearby is a top priority.
“I think the real message is, you need to do the studies, you need to know the habitat you’re going into,” said Joseph.
Joseph says there are animals close by, and they even caught video of a few eagles flying around their facility.
“I have seen them soar above the turbines, but it didn’t affect them at all,” said Joseph.
He says his turbines have never killed an eagle, but understands it’s a risk.
“We go out twice a year and look for carcasses and we found two bats in three years,” said Joseph.