My name is Garry George, Renewable Energy Director for National Audubon Society.
Audubon submitted extensive written comments in March of 2017 and testified in the first public hearing on November 8 of 2017. I am submitting another copy of those comments here today for the record.
Our 2014 Audubon Climate report tells us that 314 species of birds are seriously threatened by changes in climate on their breeding and wintering grounds unless we reduce emissions as rapidly as possible.
Transforming our energy sector to renewables not only saves birds but also benefits people in cleaner air, new jobs and new growing economies in wind and solar development areas.
Audubon supports wind energy when it is properly sited.
Our concern is the potential impact of the Icebreaker project on water birds, especially the significant wintering population of Red-breasted Merganser, and the millions of birds that migrate twice a year at night over the Lake, two criteria that identify the Central Basin of Lake Erie as a globally significant Important Bird Area in an international program for bird conservation
The standards that Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Ohio Power Siting Board set for on-site data collection, mortality monitoring and operational responses to avoid and minimize impacts to birds will set the standard for wind energy development, if any, in the entire Great Lakes. We support the standards set in the MOU that Icebreaker Windpower, Inc. and ODNR have agreed to.
And that is why we also strongly support all of staff recommendations on conditions of the permit regarding approvals for when the project can begin construction, standards and technologies for on-site data collection and standards for mortality monitoring and operation of the project, including the option for OPSB and ODNR to schedule curtailment of the turbines under certain conditions to protect our birds.
Audubon thanks ODNR, OPSB and Icebreaker Windpower, Inc. for their collaborative work on this project regarding birds.
Audubon supports a certificate for Icebreaker if OPSB adopts the staff recommendations and conditions on birds.