Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition – Position Paper – 21 JUL 18

To: L’Anse Township Board
The Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition (UPEC), representing hundreds of U.P. and other Michigan citizens, wish to convey our position on the proposed Summit Lake Wind
Energy Project. UPEC believes that global warming is one of the gravest threats to our planet and humanity, and that the United States must work toward significant reductions in the emission of carbon dioxide, which is a major contributor to global warming of
the atmosphere. The utilization of renewable energy sources is one of the principal means for reducing carbon emissions, and wind energy can play a role in providing renewable electricity and a reduction in carbon emissions. However, there are many
well-documented environmental, social, and human health impacts from wind energy plants, depending on where projects are sited and how they are operated. UPEC believes the construction of a large industrial wind energy plant in the Huron Mountains
would have large-scale, significant, long-lasting negative impacts to the natural environment, and to the local economy and well-being of the citizens of the Upper Peninsula. UPEC urges the responsible local authorities to approve the L’Anse Township Planning Commission’s proposed amendment to the zoning ordinance that states, “A Large Wind Energy Conversion System may only be located in areas in L’Anse Township that are zoned Conservation/Recreation or General Industrial.” Read full Paper here.

Following are some of the more significant potential impacts that are likely to result from construction and operation of the proposed project.

1. Large-scale short and long-term disturbance and modification to soils, vegetation, and surface water from construction activities.
2. Significant negative changes to the relatively pristine viewshed of the Huron Mountains and surrounding areas.
3. Significant negative impacts to use of the area by local residents and tourists due to the presence of industrial-scale wind turbines.
4. Negative impacts to tourism, which is a mainstay of the local economy.
5. Potential significant impacts to property values in the area surrounding the project.
6. Potential for wildfire caused by failure and combustion of wind turbines, which would be difficult, if not impossible, to control.
7. Potential unmitigable harm to resident and migratory wildlife that use the area. This includes wildlife species protected under federal and Michigan state law, including bald and golden eagles and other raptors and other species of migratory birds, 324 species of which are documented using the area; the federally-protected northern long-eared bat and other forest bat species; other federally-listed threatened and endangered species
including Kirtland’s warbler, gray wolf, Canada lynx, piping plover, and red knot, as well as other species that may be listed in the future including the northwestern moose, and many species of special concern listed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. In addition to direct fatalities from wind turbine blades, other wildlife impacts include disturbance and avoidance of the area from the construction and use of access roads, which may result in habitat destruction and fragmentation, and disruption of travel corridors for large carnivores, affecting black bears, gray wolves, and many other species.
8. Potential unknown effects to wildlife, including avoidance of the project area by game and nongame species, and increased levels of cortisol due to stress caused by wind turbines, as reported in European gray wolves and European badgers. As stated above, the L’Anse Township Board is called upon to support the L’Anse Township Planning Commission’s amendment to clarify the language in the zoning ordinance to allow
LWECS development in the Conservation/Recreation or General Industrial Districts and prohibit LWECS in the Forest District of L’Anse Township.  Read full Paper here.

Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition