A plan to install 100 more wind turbines in the mountains north of Mojave will move forward despite protests from environmentalists.
The environmentalists sought a court-ordered delay on the project amid fears the turbines could strike and kill the protected California Condor.
A YouTube video from Greece demonstrates what, environmentalists say, is their worst fear about wind turbines, the danger to wildlife.
“The condor is an important issue to all three of the groups I represent,” said Babak Naficy who represents the Sierra Club and a coalition of environmental groups that sued North Sky River Energy over the company’s plans to install 100 wind turbines in an area north of Mojave, inhabited by the California Condor.
“Ware spending a lot of money and a lot of resources to bring the condor back from the brink of extinction, and now that its range has increased and it is going to be very likely using the project site, we are very concerned there are going to be fatalities,” said Naficy.
On Wednesday morning, Judge William Palmer turned down an initial bid to put the project on hold.
“We are disappointed, but we will forge ahead.”
Attorneys for the wind project declined to be interviewed, but told the judge the company is on a year-end construction deadline to receive a federal tax incentive.
he project puts environmentalists in an unusual position: opposing a clean energy project amid fear it may do more harm than good.
The North Sky River Project is well underway, with company lawyers informing the judge that they’ve already built roads, graded 75 spots and built foundations for 11 turbines.
The project would sit north of the Pine Tree Wind Farm, which the Fish and Wildlife Service identifies as among the nation’s most deadly: responsible for almost 1,600 bird deaths a year, including eight federally-protected golden eagles.
“They also feel that mortality, death of many many birds is acceptable to them, and we think this project will have unacceptably high impact on birds bats and other species,” said Naficy.
The judge will rule in October whether the project should be permanently shutdown.