A judge will meet today with environmental groups, wind energy businesses and Alameda County officials to determine what must happen next to protect birds of prey from wind turbines in the Altamont Pass.
Californians for Renewable Energy claims that wind power companies have not complied with the conditions of permits that the Alameda County Board of Supervisors approved in September 2005.
The Alameda County Superior Court accepted a settlement agreement in 2007 that required turbines to shut down for part of the year to protect birds from the spinning turbine blades. The environmental group claims that the shutdown hasn’t followed agreed-upon guidelines, and turbines that were supposed to be removed are still in place.
Alameda County Counsel Richard Winnie said today’s meeting will be a chance for the group, the wind turbine companies and the county to discuss what has been done, and what needs to be done in the future to protect birds. He said the county is getting involved to make sure the wind farm operators comply with county rules, but the county doesn’t have a position on whether or not the companies have complied with those rules.
“We felt there was enough of a dispute that we would take it to mediation,” he said.
Peter Weiner, an attorney who represents some of the power companies, said the companies’ position is that they have complied.
“There were questions raised and that’s why we’re mediating,” he said. “The parties are talking, and hopefully we’ll reach agreement on what to do.”
17 January 2008
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