Friday, December 11, 2009

In first ruling of its kind, judge says wind farm threatens endangered bats, need special permit

We reported in October about a rare green-versus-green battle between environmentalists over a West Virginia wind farm that might threaten endangered Indiana bats. Now a federal judge has ruled that Chicago-based Invenergy can complete 40 windmills it has begun to install on an Appalachian ridge in Greenbrier County, but cannot move forward on plans to install 122 turbines along a 23-mile stretch without a special permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Maria Gold of The Washington Post reports. (Post graphic by Gene Thorp)

"Like death and taxes, there is a virtual certainty that Indiana bats will be harmed, wounded, or killed imminently by the Beech Ridge Project," District Judge Roger W. Titus wrote in a 74-page opinion. "The development of wind energy can and should be encouraged, but wind turbines must be good neighbors." The lawsuit is the first court challenge to wind power under the Endangered Species Act, Gold reports, but as wind and solar farms rapidly expand nationwide, similar battles are playing out. (Read more)

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