AltaLink Transmission Line Kills Birds
David McIntyre, a retired scientist in southwest Alberta, recently found dozens of dead ducks under a newly-built 240 kV AltaLink transmission line north of Pincher Creek (CBC News). The line is currently under construction by AltaLink’s scandal-plagued parent company, SNC-Lavalin.
Based on a 10-minute walk along the line, McIntyre estimated the bird deaths may be in the hundreds. Judging from the damage to the ducks, he suggested the birds hit the lines in bad weather when they couldn’t see the lines. McIntyre pointed out that the high voltage power line is being built between a waterfowl staging area on the Oldman River valley and Oldman reservoir and adjacent grain field feeding areas.
AltaLink was unaware of any problems.
Bird deaths attributed to overhead power lines are well documented in the literature. An estimated 174 million birds are killed every year in the U.S. alone, crashing into power line conductors, shield wires and towers. Based on the scientific literature, experts estimated that the newly-built Heartland 500 kV transmission line in Edmonton and Sherwood Park may well kill between 8,200 and 14,100 birds every year. For a more thorough discussion of the impacts of overhead high voltage power lines on birds, see this link.
Burying power lines would prevent all of these bird deaths plus eliminate other negative environmental, safety, health, property value, livestock, agricultural crop, aircraft and aesthetic impacts of overhead lines.