Two leading environmental groups, the National Audubon Society and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), have teamed up with Internet giant Google in launching an innovative online mapping project. The maps are designed to help planners reach consensus about where to site renewable energy projects across the 13 western U.S. states.
Available for download from NRDC's website and viewable via Google's free Earth software, the maps contain layers of information on things like restricted land use, endangered wildlife habitat and sensitive natural resources."This is the first step in reducing energy development conflicts by giving people from all walks of life the information they need to participate in critical site-selection decisions," says Audubon President John Flicker. "This approach can build the broad support needed to give the green light to green energy nationwide by helping to locate wind turbines and other production and transmission facilities in places that minimize negative impacts on birds and wildlife."