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Somerset County wind turbine project to be reviewed

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Army Corps of Engineers will formally review whether the endangered Indiana bat and migratory birds could be harmed by 30 big wind turbines proposed for ecologically sensitive Shaffer Mountain in northeastern Somerset County. ...The federal review, requested by three state environmental groups, is the first U.S. Endangered Species Act assessment of the impacts of wind projects in the Eastern U.S. on bats and migratory birds.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Army Corps of Engineers will formally review whether the endangered Indiana bat and migratory birds could be harmed by 30 big wind turbines proposed for ecologically sensitive Shaffer Mountain in northeastern Somerset County.

The site of the 404-foot-tall turbines and 18 miles of service roads proposed by Spanish-owned Gamesa Energy on the eastern edge of the Allegheny Plateau is confirmed habitat for the Indiana bat, listed as an endangered species since 1967.

The federal review, requested by three state environmental groups, is the first U.S. Endangered Species Act assessment of the impacts of wind projects in the Eastern U.S. on bats and migratory birds.

The project has attracted opposition from the Sensible Wind Solutions, Mountain Laurel Chapter of Trout Unlimited and the Allegheny Plateau Audubon Society, because it's in the watershed of two of the state's "exceptional value" trout streams and is a migratory pathway for numerous raptor species, including the golden eagle. It's also located in a Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Area of Exceptional Significance.

Because the commercial wind project on Shaffer Mountain would impact federally protected... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Army Corps of Engineers will formally review whether the endangered Indiana bat and migratory birds could be harmed by 30 big wind turbines proposed for ecologically sensitive Shaffer Mountain in northeastern Somerset County.

The site of the 404-foot-tall turbines and 18 miles of service roads proposed by Spanish-owned Gamesa Energy on the eastern edge of the Allegheny Plateau is confirmed habitat for the Indiana bat, listed as an endangered species since 1967.

The federal review, requested by three state environmental groups, is the first U.S. Endangered Species Act assessment of the impacts of wind projects in the Eastern U.S. on bats and migratory birds.

The project has attracted opposition from the Sensible Wind Solutions, Mountain Laurel Chapter of Trout Unlimited and the Allegheny Plateau Audubon Society, because it's in the watershed of two of the state's "exceptional value" trout streams and is a migratory pathway for numerous raptor species, including the golden eagle. It's also located in a Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Area of Exceptional Significance.

Because the commercial wind project on Shaffer Mountain would impact federally protected wetlands, it cannot be built without a permit from the Corps. And the Corps may not issue a permit until it is sure that the project will not jeopardize the Indiana bat.

Pennsylvania has no regulations for siting wind turbine projects or assessing their impacts on wildlife. Instead, it relies on unenforceable voluntary siting "guidelines" negotiated by the wind power industry and the Pennsylvania Game Commission.


Source: http://www.post-gazette.com...

MAY 13 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/20275-somerset-county-wind-turbine-project-to-be-reviewed
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