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Icebreaker puts birds 'at risk'

Green groups raise concerns over draft environmental assessment

Icebreaker puts birds 'at risk' image

US bird conservation groups have raised concerns about the draft environmental assessment for LEEDCo and Fred Olsen Renewables’ 20.7MW Icebreaker offshore wind farm in Lake Erie.

Ohio's Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO) and American Bird Conservancy (ABC) reject the claim that the facility would have little to no impact on birds and bats.

They argue that Lake Erie is critical to migratory birds, such as the endangered Kirtland's Warbler.

The draft environmental assessment (EA) was prepared by the US Department of Energy and the Army Corps of Engineers.

BSBO executive director Kimberly Kaufman said: “Based on our exhaustive review of the EA, we see no evidence to support the claim that the project poses little to no risk to birds and bats.

“In fact, having conducted more than 30 years of migratory bird research along Lake Erie, we believe the six-turbine Icebreaker project would pose a significant threat to wildlife – not to mention substantially increased impacts that would be triggered by the planned expansion of the project to more than 1000 turbines.”

BSBO and ABC said that they hope their concerns will be reflected in any future assessments of the environmental impact of Icebreaker and other proposed offshore wind energy development in the Great Lakes.  

A final EA could be issued in the next few months for the Icebreaker project.

Image: LEEDCo

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