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Archive for July, 2011

Baryonyx Corporation will present and answer questions about their plans to construct a 500-turbine wind farm in three areas in Texas waters, two of which are offshore of Cameron County on Tuesday, July 26th beginning at 6:00 pm in Room E-104 of the UTB/TSC International Technology, Education and Commerce Campus (ITECC).  Doors to open at 5:45 pm and presentation to begin 6:00 pm.  Refreshments will be served.

Baryonyx has requested RSVPs so that they can cater refreshments.  You may email Karma Leyland at Kleyland@baryonyxcorp.com to RSVP.

DIRECTIONS: UTB/TSC  ITECC is at 301 Mexico Blvd. Room E-104.  From EXPWY 83, take the Boca Chica exit.  Turn west onto Boca Chica.  Take the immediate left onto Palm Blvd.  Then turn left on Mexico.  ITECC is on the left.

 

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The Army Corps of Engineers opened a public comment period until July 18 for the Baryonyx 500-turbine wind generation project offshore of Cameron, Willacy, Kleberg, Kenedy and Nueces Counties.   The Public Notice  states that “A preliminary review of this application indicates that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is not required.”  An EIS is legally required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) when a project is likely to have significant impacts on the environment.

Despite denying the need for an EIS, the Army Corps Public Notice also states that “Threatened and/or endangered species or their critical habitat may be affected by the proposed work.”  This discrepancy, along with the many unanswered questions, such as the path of transmission lines and the types of turbines used has led environmental groups such as the Sierra Club and the Audubon Society to call for an EIS.

Map of proposed offshore wind farm sites in Cameron County

When the Sierra Club met with Baryonyx yesterday in Austin, corporate officials claimed that they fully intend to go through the EIS process, regardless of what the Army Corps tells them that they must do.  At this point they are simply going through the normal Corps General Permitting Process.

They will be scheduling official public meetings in different locations later this year as a part of the EIS process.  The Army Corps comment period, then, is just to get basic information that can guide the EIS process as Baryonyx moves forward.  They would still need to hold public meetings and open an EIS comment period, as well as do some two years of studies on the impacts for bats, birds, mammals and sea turtles.

Baryonyx does not envision putting anything in the ground before late 2014 or early 2015 at the earliest, and the project would be built in stages over many years.

Also, Baryonyx was open to meeting with groups in the Rio Grande Valley, so watch this space for that opportunity.

It is important for Valley residents to get involved in this process.   Developing wind energy is critical if we are going to wean ourselves off dirty fossil fuels.  But if wind generation is going to be an answer to the environmental degradation caused by fossil fuels it needs to be a good answer.

You can send in your own comments and questions to the Army Corp address on the Public Notice form.  Audubon also has an action alert calling for an EIS that you can fill out and send.

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