Two recent reports from environmental groups illustrate a new tension with wind power advocates.
Building wind turbines can damage rural Oregon wildlife habitat including that of a local bird – the Sage Grouse.
Central Oregon correspondent Ethan Lindsey reports.
The Sightline Institute, a Seattle-based sustainable research group, says Oregon has a dwindling population of the Sage Grouse.
The group says Grouse numbers here are at an all-time low.
Regional officials say that could impede development of wind turbines in eastern Oregon.
Eric De Place is a senior researcher at the Sightline Institute. He says there’s no simple answer.
Eric De Place: “The conflict between wind power and sage grouse is probably drastically overblown. It’s true that Sage Grouse are affected by development that happens in sagebrush country. But we have had decades of road building, invasive species – and I don’t think it’s quite fair to blame renewable power, all of a sudden, as the biggest threat for the sage grouse.”
Another report, from the Oregon Natural Desert Association, argues that the Sage Grouse and wind power can coexist – but that the locations for the wind energy production must be carefully decided.
BY ETHAN LINDSEY, OPB News – http://news.opb.org/article/4966-sage-grouse-reports-indicate-balancing-act-wind/