BROWNSVILLE – Although they have lost more than one battle in the war to keep wind turbines from encroaching on the nearby Horicon Marsh, a local environmental group vows to fight for wildlife until the end.
“We plan to monitor the project and bring news of bird kills to the attention of the media and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services to push for charges in accordance with the Bird Migratory Treaty Act,” said Curt Kindschuh, public information officer for Horicon Marsh Systems Advocates. “The death of Sandhill cranes, Canada geese, eagles, hawks, any migratory bird at all could result in significant state and federal fines for Invenergy or the hosting landowners.”
Kindschuh said wildlife advocates in California have set a precedence for wildlife agencies to level fines against wind farm developers for bird kills.
“We have people out there that are willing to monitor these turbines,” said Kindschuh. “We as a group are not encouraging people to trespass on private land to do so.”
The group had petitioned the Public Service Commission back in 2005 to enact a five-mile setback from the eastern edge of the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge. The group lost that battle when the agency settled for a two-mile setback. Kindschuh fears that Invenergy will continue its march towards the marsh in a bid to erect more turbines.
“That wouldn’t surprise me a bit,” Kindschuh said.
Based on the outcome of avian surveys mandated by the PSC, Invenergy would petition the Wisconsin regulatory agency to edge closer to the marsh, said Joel Link, director of business development for the Midwest region of Invenergy.
In the meantime, HMSA members will be watching and ready to meet the next challenge.
“Our leadership is as strong as ever,” Kindschuh said. “We’re entrenched and we’ll fight this for the next 10, 20 or 30 years if that’s what we have to do.”
By Colleen Kottke
14 January 2008
Horicon Marsh Systems Advocates: HMSAdvocates.org
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