Gov. LePage recently imposed a moratorium on new wind energy projects in western and coastal Maine, on coastal islands and along significant avian migratory pathways.

A 2016 Associated Press article in this paper covered the Obama administration’s revised rule allowing wind turbines to kill or injure up to 4,200 bald eagles a year, without penalty (nearly four times higher than the earlier limit) in exchange for a $36,000 license, good for 30 years.

We’re not including the uncounted multitude of other birds, including migratory birds that fly by night. Meanwhile, bats, which are long-lived and reproduce at low rates (and are already decimated by white nose syndrome), are being killed at much higher numbers than originally thought.

These towers can reach the height of a 30-story building, with blades flying around a 200-foot arc at up to 170 mph. Raptors focus on the ground while flying, to locate prey; they don’t alert to the whirling dervishes in front of them until, often, it’s too late.

More recently, in a Jan. 20 Tribune News Service article, the paper reported that Eagle Nation Foundation founder Terrence Ingram, with 57 years conducting midwinter bald eagle counts, is sounding an alarm that populations of eagles dropped 25 percent between 2010 and 2017. In 1988, there were only 2,475 breeding pairs in the entire U.S., and it wasn’t long ago that bald eagles were removed from endangered status.

People throughout the Midwest, the Atlantic and other New England states are standing up and saying “Stop!”

A possible safer option is horizontal axis wind turbine technology, with a recent breakthrough design. These super turbines are much lower and quieter, cost less to build, transport and install, and can generate 7 to 50 megawatts of power compared to 3 or so megawatts for large, conventional turbines.

Let’s take a time out and make sure we get wind technology right this time.

Brad Kaake

Hollis Center