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Vermont wind facility seeks permit for bat deaths  

Annette Smith, executive director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment, Inc., which opposes commercial wind power, said her organization had received a copy of FirstWind’s draft permit.

“We object to the killing of any and all bats, do not support the issuance of a permit to take or kill them, and support a zero mortality goal by shutting down the turbines when the threat exists,” Smith said. “Vermont should have a zero tolerance for killing bats given the critical condition of their very existence.”

Credit:  Associated Press | www.burlingtonfreepress.com/ 31 July 2012 ~~

SHEFFIELD – The company that owns and operates a Vermont wind power project in Sheffield is asking the state for permission in advance in case once-common bats now on the state’s endangered species list are killed by spinning turbine blades.

Boston-based FirstWind has asked the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources for the first-ever “Endangered and Threatened Species Taking Permit,” said company Vice President Dave Cowan.

In the last year at least 20 bats have been killed at the Sheffield wind farm, although none were the little brown bats, which were placed on the state’s endangered species list last year after its numbers have been decimated by white nose syndrome.

He said the company decided last year to apply for the permit that would allow the taking of four individual little brown bats after hearing the species was going to be added to the state’s endangered list.

“These permits are very specific and they are issued on a very limited basis, and only for ‘take’ that can reasonably be expected to occur in the normal course of an otherwise lawful activity,” Cowan told the Caledonian Record (http://bit.ly/MZdPrs ).

“Although little browns aren’t often among the species killed at wind facilities, it is still possible, and therefore it was agreed that we should apply for a permit,” he said.

The company is also working with a group called Bat Conservation International and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to seek the best ways to protect bats.

Annette Smith, executive director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment, Inc., which opposes commercial wind power, said her organization had received a copy of FirstWind’s draft permit.

“We object to the killing of any and all bats, do not support the issuance of a permit to take or kill them, and support a zero mortality goal by shutting down the turbines when the threat exists,” Smith said. “Vermont should have a zero tolerance for killing bats given the critical condition of their very existence.”

[rest of article available at source]
Source:  Associated Press | www.burlingtonfreepress.com/ 31 July 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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