U.S. wildlife authorities have added their voice to the chorus of ecologists and environmentalists who are fighting a proposed wind farm near the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in Eastern North Carolina.
In a filing made late Monday to the N.C. Utilities Commission, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service wrote that the species at greatest risk from the farm is the tundra swan, a bird that can weigh up to 23 pounds, has a wingspan up to 5 1/2 feet, and flies at night to forage at nearby farms.
The state Utilities Commission has the authority to approve, deny or delay the project.
Environmental advocacy groups and state wildlife officials are asking the commission to delay issuing a ruling until the proposed turbine locations can be evaluated for their potential risks to flying birds.
The proposed 11,000-acre Pantego wind farm, with 49 turbines extending nearly 500 feet to the tip of the blade, would be located just several miles from a bird refuge that attracts swarms of migrating waterfowl during the winter months.
Chicago-based Invenergy, the company proposing the Pantego wind farm, is currently doing a study during the migratory season to assess potential effects on birds.
Invenergy had planned to complete the study in March, but the Fish & Wildlife Service letter warns that several years will be needed to collect reliable data.
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