Birding groups oppose Camp Perry wind turbine

Oct 27, 2016

The Ohio Air National Guard plans to build a wind turbine to generate energy for a camp near Lake Erie, but groups involved with protecting birds want to stop that plan.

Operated by the National Guard, Camp Perry sits on the shore of Lake Erie in Port Clinton.  And the proposed wind turbine would be about 10 miles from the Black Swamp Bird Observatory, home to many migrating birds. It’s also the host for an event called “Biggest Week in American Birding”.

Michael Hutchins of the American Bird Conservancy says that’s a problem.

“We’re very concerned about the impact of this and the fact that it will set a precedent to start building wind turbines along that area of Lake Erie,” said Hutchins.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommends wind turbines be installed no less than 3 miles away from the Great Lakes shoreline.  Hutchins says the proposed turbine threatens wildlife in the area, and that there are alternatives to wind energy.

“They could easily go towards building more solar energy on that facility and not build a dangerous wind turbine,” said Hutchins.

Currently, Camp Perry generates 28 percent of its energy from a solar farm.  In a July assessment, the Camp Perry Air National Guard says a wind turbine would take care of 34 percent of the base’s energy.

In addition to increasing renewable resources, the project would provide opportunities to research how wind turbines affect migratory birds, the guard says.

The lawsuit can’t be filed for 60 days. During that time, the Air National Guard can propose other solutions.

The bird conservancy’s filing comes a week before a public meeting for another wind turbine project on the Great Lakes – Cleveland’s Project Icebreaker, which would be the first offshore wind project in the region.