This was a very large project, covering some 23,000 acres with 76 wind turbines, and both the North Dakota Game & Fish Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were critical of it for its potential impacts on wildlife. Birds, in particular. The three-member, all-Republican commission rejected the permit for the project because they didn’t feel NextEra had demonstrated that they’d do enough to mitigate wildlife impacts.
Library filed under Legal from North Dakota
Regulatory filings showed federal and state agencies charged with protecting wildlife have long been concerned with the proposed wind farm's location. A North Dakota Game and Fish Department official said upon first hearing about the project in 2016, agency staff indicated the developer "could not have picked a worse spot in the state."
The North Dakota PSC denied a permit for Nextera to construct and operate the 200 megawatt (76 turbine) Burke Wind Energy facility proposed for Burke County, ND. An excerpt of the PSC's decision is provided below. The full order denying the permit and letters from the US Fish and Wildlife Service and ND Game and Fish can be downloaded from this page.
Pure New Energy USA, the company proposing to develop the controversial Burleigh-Emmons Wind Farm, filed an appeal to the South Central Judicial District Court on Friday, challenging the Burleigh County Commission’s recent decision to deny 30 special use permits for the project. According to the notice of appeal, PNE argues it “met any and all requirements for issuance of the subject permits and the board should not have denied its applications.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service commented in February 2010 that “an adverse effect to whooping cranes is likely” from the project and recommended EDF not start construction until it obtains an “incidental take” permit, which allows a landowner to proceed with an activity that would otherwise result in the illegal killing of an endangered or threatened species.