Article

Bats, birds, expertise issue in Butler

The battle over wind turbines continues in Butler Township as opposing sides fight over bats, birds and what constitutes valid testimony. The Butler Township Zoning Hearing Board heard testimony from both sides again Wednesday as residents fought to stop a plan by Broad Mountain Development Co. LLC.

FOUNTAIN SPRINGS - The battle over wind turbines continues in Butler Township as opposing sides fight over bats, birds and what constitutes valid testimony.

The Butler Township Zoning Hearing Board heard testimony from both sides again Wednesday as residents fought to stop a plan by Broad Mountain Development Co. LLC, a Rich family company, to construct 27 wind turbines in the Fountain Springs area on Rich and Girard Estate lands.

Brian J. Urban, attorney for at least one of the private citizens, attempted to certify Susan Gallagher, chief naturalist for the Carbon County Environmental Education Center, as an expert on bats.

Martin J. Cerullo, legal counsel for Broad Mountain Development Co., objected.

After lengthy attempts to certify Gallagher, hearing officer Chester Corse Jr. disqualified Gallagher as an expert as she has not specifically studied "bats and wind" and therefore it was determined that she lacked expertise in the field necessary for the purpose of the hearing.

Gallagher also attempted to cite the state Game Commission's "Wind Energy Voluntary Cooperation Agreement," but that was dismissed by Corse as having no bearing on the hearing.

Corse also... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

FOUNTAIN SPRINGS - The battle over wind turbines continues in Butler Township as opposing sides fight over bats, birds and what constitutes valid testimony.

The Butler Township Zoning Hearing Board heard testimony from both sides again Wednesday as residents fought to stop a plan by Broad Mountain Development Co. LLC, a Rich family company, to construct 27 wind turbines in the Fountain Springs area on Rich and Girard Estate lands.

Brian J. Urban, attorney for at least one of the private citizens, attempted to certify Susan Gallagher, chief naturalist for the Carbon County Environmental Education Center, as an expert on bats.

Martin J. Cerullo, legal counsel for Broad Mountain Development Co., objected.

After lengthy attempts to certify Gallagher, hearing officer Chester Corse Jr. disqualified Gallagher as an expert as she has not specifically studied "bats and wind" and therefore it was determined that she lacked expertise in the field necessary for the purpose of the hearing.

Gallagher also attempted to cite the state Game Commission's "Wind Energy Voluntary Cooperation Agreement," but that was dismissed by Corse as having no bearing on the hearing.

Corse also disallowed Gallagher from citing other sources, including a 2007 press release from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Commission Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, on the grounds that they were "hearsay."

Urban argued that the release, in which Kempthorne writes, "But we also know that wind turbines can cause bird and bat mortality and may have other ecological impacts," is a matter of public record.

Corse said he would not take "testimony from sources that are not available for cross-examination."

Township resident Marc Burlie questioned how the documents could be entered as evidence in the case.

"It's not the board's business to tell you how to authenticate them," Corse replied.

Gallagher was allowed to answer questions as a reliable source of information about bats, and resident Merri Lynn Craig posed two plainly.

"Do spinning turbine blades kill birds and bats?" she asked, followed by, "Is it illegal in the U.S. to kill migratory birds?" Gallagher answered "yes" to both questions.


Source: http://republicanherald.com...

JAN 22 2010
https://www.windaction.org/posts/24245-bats-birds-expertise-issue-in-butler
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