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Environment & Energy

Wind Farm Doesn't Want Bird Kill Data Released

Wind Farm
A Wind Farm in the Northeast

Black Swamp Observatory in Ottawa County has been researching birds for a quarter of a century. But now, they’ve become the source of a legal dispute between Ohio’s Department of Natural Resources and a Spanish corporation that is the world’s largest wind farm operator.

Black Swamp  is studying possible effects on birds of proposed wind farms on the Lake Erie shore. It wants data ODNR has from Blue Creek wind farm in western Ohio.

But, Iberdrola Renewables, the Spanish owner of Blue Creek is suing to block that. In court filings it said letting the information out would reveal trade secrets.

Kimberly Kaufman
Credit K. Kaufman
Kimberly Kaufman, Black Swamp Observatory

Black Swamp Director Kimberly Kaufman says seeing the data is critical to completing an assessment of how wind farms could affect the birds and bats along the lake shore. “Before we experiment with the largest nesting population of bald eagles in the lower 48 states, and experiment in one of the most important bird migration bottlenecks on the continent, let’s look to western Ohio.”

Kaufman says that even though Blue Creek is inland, what has been learned there can help predict outcomes in the more sensitive shore areas.