Bat lover suing to stop wind farm in West Virginia

Update 12/8/2009 – A Federal judge has sided with the plaintiffs and has halted the construction of Invenergy’s Beech Ridge project. Judge Roger Titus ordered the company to stop building the turbines until it gets a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.   The judge also barred them from operating any of the existing 40 turbines between April 1 and November 15th, which is when the bats are migrating.

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There’s a green vs. green court fight underway – attempting to stop the construction of the Beech Ridge 122 turbine wind farm on West Virginia mountain ridges.  The suit was filed by David Cowan, against Invenergy Wind LLC – the builder of the wind farm.  Mr. Cowan has spent alot of time in caves a couple of miles from the site of the future wind power farm, and has grown to love the Indiana bat, a brownish-gray bat that weighs a couple of ounces and measures about 8 inches when it has its wings unfolded.   The Indiana bat is listed as an endangered species.

Invenergy argues that the wind turbines will not harm these bats.  Bat experts are saying that the female Indiana bats prefer lower altitudes to raise their young – the ridge where the turbines are going are much higher than where the bats are normally seen.  After consultants put up nets around the proposed area for the far, no Indiana bats were captured.

Mr. Cowan, for his part, doesn’t seem to care about the studies showing that Indiana Bats won’t go near the farm.  “I think if the turbines kill one Indiana bat that ought to end it,” he said. “That ought to shut it down.”

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