Nicholas Throckmorton, 202/208-5636
Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne announced today the formation of a Wind Turbine Guidelines Advisory Committee. The Secretary is currently seeking nominations for the group which will advise him on effective measures to avoid or minimize impacts to wildlife and their habitats related to land-based wind energy facilities.
By some estimates, wind power could provide clean and renewable electricity to meet up to 20 percent of the nation's energy needs.
"We know that wind power may be key to providing a vital new source of clean, renewable energy for
The Committee will function in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act and report to the Secretary of the Interior through the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It will function solely as an advisory body and provide recommendations on effective measures to protect wildlife resources and coordinate review and evaluation of facilities by state, tribal, local, and federal agencies.
In 2003, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service developed the "Interim Voluntary Wind Turbine Guidelines" and advertised their availability for a 2-year public comment period in the Federal Register. The guidelines were to assist the wind energy industry in avoiding or minimizing impacts to wildlife and their habitats when developing wind energy facilities.
The comment period closed in July 2005. After reviewing the comments received and evaluating advances in the science behind wind turbine siting and design, the Department of the Interior believes that additional input would be valuable in developing a revised product, which will also be made available for public review and comment.
Members of the Committee will be expected to effectively represent the varied interests associated with wind energy development and the management of wildlife species and their habitats. They will represent stakeholders, Federal and State agencies, and Tribes; be senior representatives of their respective constituent groups; and have knowledge of wind energy facility location, design, operation, transmission requirements, wildlife species potentially affected, wildlife survey techniques, applicable laws and regulations, and wind/wildlife interactions. The Committee may also include independent experts in wind energy/wildlife interactions, appointed as special government employees, to provide technical advice.
The Committee is expected to meet approximately four times per year. The Service will provide necessary support services to the Committee. All meetings will be open to the public and a notice announcing each Committee meeting will be published in the Federal Register at least 15 days prior to the date. The public will have an opportunity to provide input at all meetings.
Interested parties should send resumes and explanations of interest by
In 1972, the Federal Advisory Committee Act was enacted by Congress. Its purpose was to ensure that advice rendered to the executive branch by the various advisory committees, task forces, boards and commissions formed over the years by Congress and the President, be both objective and accessible to the public. The Act formalized a process for establishing, operating, overseeing, and terminating these advisory bodies. The General Services Administration is responsible for implementing the Federal Advisory Committee Act.
To learn more about the Interior Department's wind initiatives, please see http://www.doi.gov/initiatives/wind.html. To see the Service's Interim Guidelines on Avoiding and Minimizing Wildlife Impacts from Wind Turbines as well as links to the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, please see http://www.fws.gov/habitatconservation/wind.htm.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.