The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is trying to determine the best way to accommodate new wind energy projects while protecting endangered birds and bats that might be killed by running into wind turbines.
Members of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service came together at a public meeting Wednesday evening to discuss the process for doing so.
The Midwest Wind Energy Multi Species Habitat Conservation Plan looks at eight different states, including Indiana, to establish a new protocol for wind energy companies to receive permits that allow them to accidentally kill–or “take” as it’s called—a certain number of endangered animals each year.
Fish and Wildlife coordinator Rick Amidon says the plan would be a win-win situation for the wind energy industry and wildlife.
“It’s a benefit to the industry that they can come in and get take coverage,” Amidon says. “But it’s also a benefit to the states and the service because one of the outcomes is to reduce take at these facilities.”
The plan is expected to be finalized in the next few years.
Amidon says that Indiana has been a major player in the process of creating the conservation plan. The Hoosier state has helped fund and manage the contract grant process.
The permits would tentatively last 45 years and current wind farm operations would be able to opt-in for a permit as well.
Currently in Indiana, only one wind company is operating under such a permit.
A permit allows for a certain amount of “take” of endangered species. Without a permit, a company found accidentally killing endangered species would be in violation of the Endangered Species Act and could be shut down.
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