Despite warnings from citizens, recommendations from natural resource management agencies, and the fact that a number of similarly situated wind turbine projects have obtained or are obtaining an Incidental Take Permit (ITP) as required by the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the developers of the Highland New Wind Development (HNWD) project in Highland County apparently intend to proceed without obtaining an ITP.
HNWD was put on notice in May of 2010 that citizens intend to bring suit in federal court to seek compliance with the ESA if HNWD chooses to go forward without an ITP in the face of clear risk to endangered Indiana and Virginia big-eared bats.
Construction was briefly initiated at the project site in late 2009. Work at the site then stopped for the winter. A year later, in late 2010, construction work was again briefly initiated. Work has again stopped.
Although HNWD representatives met with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials in early 2010 to discuss the requirements for an ITP, company spokesmen subsequently made it clear that they do not intend to obtain such a permit. A supplemental notice letter, dated January 4, 2011, has now been sent to HNWD in a final attempt at resolution short of litigation.
The citizens seeking HNWD’s compliance with the ESA, have retained Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal, a law firm specializing in wildlife and environmental protection, with an emphasis on the ESA.
Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal secured a precedent-setting federal court ruling in December of 2009 that required the Invenergy wind project in Greenbrier County, WV to obtain an ITP based on concerns about one of the two endangered bat species threatened by the HNWD project.
The initial notice of intent to sue, the supplemental notice, and HNWD project site maps with construction activities indicated are posted at www.vawind.org.
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