Birds, planes and turbines can coexist

The writer is executive director of Audubon North Carolina.

For well over a century, Audubon has worked to protect birds in North Carolina from the most significant threats to their survival. The growth of wind power in eastern North Carolina caused alarm among some who believe that wind turbines amount to giant “bird blenders” in the sky.

Earlier this week, state lawmakers put forth a proposal that would effectively ban wind energy from large swaths of the state, arguing that North Carolina’s military bases and flight training paths are threatened by wind towers.

Our experience has shown that wind projects can be properly designed, sited and monitored to avoid significant impacts on bird populations.

A transition to clean energy also protects birds from the worst effects of carbon pollution, which is already impacting where birds can survive and thrive in our state.

Overly burdensome limits on wind energy development do a disservice to one of the most economically challenged areas or our state. A more balanced approach is needed and Audubon stands at the ready to work with state leadership, wind developers and military interests.

I’m confident we can keep the sky open to the V-22 Osprey military aircraft and raptors of the same name while harnessing the jobs and economic prosperity that would come from a growing wind industry in North Carolina.