Altamont Pass: Controversial wind turbine company blamed for bird deaths shutting down

Altamont Winds told the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service in an email Oct. 23 that it is ceasing operations as of Sunday.

The decision was applauded by environmental groups, which for years have been fighting to build awareness around the large numbers of golden eagles, raptors, burrowing owls and other birds that are killed by turbines.

“It’s a really big deal,” said Michael Lynes, director of public policy for Audubon California. “(Altamont Winds) is the second-largest operator in the Altamont, and they were doggedly continuing to use those old turbines that we know have a disproportionately high rate of mortality.”

Altamont Winds did not return calls for comment.

A turkey vulture flies among dormant wind turbines in the Altamont area of Contra Costa County on May 8, 2015.

A turkey vulture flies among dormant wind turbines in the Altamont area of Contra Costa County on May 8, 2015. (Dan Honda/Bay Area News Group)

Altamont Winds Vice President Bill Damon wrote in the email to the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service that “the reduction of avian impacts” was the primary reason for the company to discontinue its Altamont operations.

The shutdown was a surprise, as Altamont had earlier this year received an extension to operate until 2018, which frustrated environmentalists.

read more:  By Dan Lawton dlawton@bayareanewsgroup.com POSTED: 10/30/2015

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