Skookumchuck Wind Energy Project Update
The Proposal: 38 wind turbines and associated infrastructure are planned by RES-Americas for a site on both sides of the border between Thurston and Lewis counties (the turbines themselves would be within Lewis County). The turbines would be on a prominent ridge in the vicinity of the Skookumchuck Reservoir and in immediate proximity to occupied marbled murrelet sites, expected to result in the loss of at least 2-3 Marbled Murrelets per year. The turbines will have high-tech sensors capable of detecting Bald and Golden Eagles and stopping blade rotating when these very large birds are near; during the first two years, however, cesation of blade rotation would be activated only if the take limit (set by USFWS) is approached. Smaller birds, in any event, would not be detected and risk suffering mortality from blade strikes.
Comments Submitted: Scoping comments for draft Environmental Impact Statements (dEIS’s) have been submitted by BHAS to Lewis County in May, 2018, and to the US Fish and Wildlife Service in early June, 2018. Thanks to all who also submitted Comments to Lewis County or USFWS or both!
Anticipated Dates for USFWS EIS:
Draft EIS available 9/17/2018
Public Comments on draft EIS due: 11/1/2018
Final EIS available 3/4/2019
Release of Record of Decision: 5/2/2019
BHAS Position: Because wind energy contributes to reducing fossil-fuel carbon emissions—thus reducing the threat of global warming to wildlife, including birds—BHAS is willing to support wind energy projects as long as sufficient mitigation is provided for the protection of birds and other wildlife. BHAS is advocating for protection of Marbled Murrelets, which are known to fly through this area in route to nesting sites.