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Environmentalists Shrank The Peace Bridge

by on May 5, 2008

Buffalo’s premier liberal rag, Artvoice, asks the question, “Who shrank the Peace Bridge?” It’s a question we all know the answer to: environmentalists.

“In Melbourne Florida,” notes one of the letters, “a very tall bridge presented a fatal obstacle to bird flight, and studies from 1989 to 1992 found 11 Brown Pelicans, 84 Royal Terns, 2 Sandwich Terns and 2 Black Skimmers were hit and killed by vehicles on the Bridge. Undoubtedly birds hit the bridge as well, however these would not have been recoverable…The Common Terns, Double-crested Cormorants, Black-crowned Night Herons, and Great-Blue Herons could easily have the same problems with bridge height that the birds encountered with the bridge in Melbourne, Florida.”

But by their own admission there is no evidence at all of bridge height being an issue in Melbourne, Florida. All the dead birds, in that area with vastly more bird traffic than Buffalo, were road kill—birds that landed on the bridge and were walking around when a car or truck came along. That could happen with a bridge of any height, or just a road near a waterway. The letter speculated that birds killed by collision with the bridge fell into the water, so no one ever knew about them. How can the PBA possibly respond to that?

All of the reports refer to Menn’s bridge as 590 feet, as if it were 590 feet high from shore to shore. But it’s only 590 feet high at the top of the pylons. Between the pylons, it’s not much higher than the current bridge. Watch birds fly over any cable stay bridge: Some go over the pylons, some fly between them. If 590 feet is an issue (none of the birds mentioned is incapable of flying above 590 feet), why wouldn’t the birds fly between the pylons, as they do everywhere else? (If the 590-foot rule obtained, we wouldn’t have the Golden Gate Bridge, Verrazano-Narrows Bridge or George Washington Bridge, all of which are taller and are in busier bird routes.)

Spend an afternoon searching Google for reports of birds flying into the wires of cable-stay bridges and you’ll come up empty. When Hong Kong wanted to build a new bridge, they did a search of 1,500 bridge projects and found nothing. None of the dozens of cable-stay bridges built in the US in recent years have resulted in any significant bird homicides.

What amazes me is why it took the potential scrapping of Christian Menn’s design for so many people, particularly those on the left, to suddenly wake up to the fact that environmental concerns are sometimes hogwash.

So many have accepted global warming as fact, without giving any consideration to scientific evidence that either contradicts that global warming is occuring, or that while climate change is occuring that it is not caused by man. No, when it comes that issue, the environmentalists aren’t challenged as they have been with this Peace Bridge nonsense.

The challenging of the environmentalists over the Peace Bridge design should have people asking whether they’ve been duped by them before. True enough, environmentalists and their Democrat minions in Congress have prevented drilling in ANWR and the building of new refineries in the United States. The end result? Gas prices nearing $4.00/gallon. There’s no way to calculate what kind of negative impact alleged environmental concerns (especial ones that result in governmental regulations of all kinds) have on our economy.

If Artvoice can question the environmentalists assessment of the Menn Peace Bridge design, perhaps they (and others) can take the next step and start to question other potentially bogus claims they make.

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