Expand wind power, protect birds
Continuing to expand wind power is one of the best ways to protect birds, despite the claims made in a March 23 article.
Scientists agree that climate change is the single greatest threat to bird populations, and as a zero-emission energy source, wind is the biggest, fastest, cheapest way to cut carbon pollution. That’s why the National Wildlife Federation and National Audubon Society have called for more wind.
Wind has been documented as having some of the lowest human-related avian impacts. Collectively, collisions with other human structures and environmental toxins kill between 490 million to 2.9 billion birds every year.
Conversely, based on a 2009 study, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority concluded wind has the lowest cradle-to-grave life-cycle impacts of all energy sources on wildlife and habitats.
The wind industry takes its limited impacts seriously, doing more to study, avoid, minimize, and mitigate wildlife impacts than any other energy industry; undertaking extensive pre- and post-construction environmental-impact studies; and utilizing comprehensive siting practices to reduce impacts to the greatest extent practicable.
The wind industry also works hard to reduce effects on bats, helping to found the Bats and Wind Energy Cooperative, adopted to understand the impacts of wind on bats and find solutions to reduce those impacts. In 2015, voluntary best practices were designed to reduce impacts on non-regulated bat species. Experts predict reducing turbine rotations in low-wind speed conditions during the fall migration period could reduce bat impacts up to 30 percent.
The wind-energy industry, built upon a legacy of care, is proud of our record as the leading source of utility-scale electricity with the lowest environmental impacts. No energy source — or really any human activity — is completely impact-free. Americans must weigh all costs and benefits when deciding how to power our country.
Senior director, Permitting Policy and Environmental Affairs American Wind Energy Association
An independent voice
Hello, Hawk Nation, I am Zach Weigel, a junior political-science major in the College of Education running for the position of senator in the upcoming undergraduate student-government elections. Chances are you may have heard of the BLOC Party or seen members around campus in their green shirts. You also might be familiar with their opponent, the Yes Party. While both pose some compelling platforms, I hope to persuade you to consider casting a vote for me.
Contrasting the motivations and ideas of other candidates, I desire to be a part of student government to advocate for and advance real practical initiatives that will benefit our university.
There are three issues that stand out to me, and if you choose to rally behind me I promise to stand by my convictions. First, mental-health care here at Iowa needs to be improved. It takes weeks for students to get appointments that they desperately need. Second, off-campus apartments should offer recycling services to their tenants. Far too many of us students simply throw recyclables in the trash while a more environmentally friendly waste-management system can be implemented. Third, our university should spend money wisely. Last year, the student government allocated $7,000 for nap-stations in the IMU. The student government’s funds come from our student fees, and I can think of plenty of better ways to spend $7,000.
So if you want someone to be your voice for pragmatic solutions I invite you to log onto ISIS under the My Vote tab of Student Records and choose Zach Weigel. There are 38 open slots, 36 for party-affiliated candidates and two for independents, so I hope you will consider me for an independent slot.