|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
DECEMBER 27, 2004
|CONTACT: Chesapeake Climate Action Network
Mike Tidwell, 240-460-5838
Gary Skulnik, 301-754-0430
Environmental Leaders Demand Resignation of Top Official in Maryland
SILVER SPRING, MD -- December 27 -- Leading environmental advocates in Maryland today called for the immediate resignation of Sierra Club's most powerful official in Maryland, citing the official's blatant suppression of scientific data that likely shows a wind farm in western Maryland poses no threat whatsoever to migratory bird populations.
Dan Boone, Conservation Chair of the Maryland Sierra Club, has repeatedly refused to release the results of a bird study conducted in Garrett County, Maryland by a team of noted ornithology experts that Boone picked himself. The study data has been available since last spring, but Boone has rebuffed repeated requests by bird advocates and other conservationists to release the data even as he calls for more and more avian studies.
"In all my years of environmental advocacy, I have never seen such an abuse of power and a total disregard for the Maryland environment and the welfare of Maryland citizens," said Mike Tidwell, Director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. "Dan Boone is committing a huge disservice to this state and to environmental advocates everywhere who know that clean wind power and birds can co-exist."
Across America and Maryland, conservationists have been increasingly encouraged in recent years by the dramatically low rate of bird fatalities at properly-sited wind farms. The national average is just 2.2 bird deaths per turbine per year. And a wind farm in nearby West Virginia has resulted in just 4 bird deaths per turbine per year. Yet Boone, a well-known opponent of all wind farms in Appalachia because of their alleged "visual impacts" and alleged threats to birds, has actively opposed all wind farms in the region.
When a wind power company agreed to conduct an extensive study of migratory birds at its proposed Garrett County mountain site, Boone personally chose the study team. Now that the team has concrete data in hand, Boone refuses to release it, using a legal maneuver that has shocked conservationists.
"All one can conclude is that Boone doesn't want the public to know the truth that well-sited wind farms don't harm bird populations," said Gary Skulnik, executive director of the Clean Energy Partnership in Silver Spring, Md. "Boone has a personal agenda that he appears to value above the common good that he pledged to protect as a top Sierra Club official. He should resign right now."
As Sierra Club members, Tidwell and Skulnik have launched a web site called http://www.savemdbirds.org. Here Sierra Club members and other area residents can add their name to a petition calling for Boone to resign. A letter has also been sent to Carl Pope, national president of Sierra Club, asking him to remove Boone if he refuses to step down.
For more information contact Mike Tidwell at 240-460-5838 or Gary Skulnik at 301-754-0430. For more information on birds and wind power, visit http://www.chesapeakeclimate.org and click on "Birds and wind power".