Thursday, November 3, 2011
Formal Notice Of ESA Violations Sent To U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Over Shaffer Mountain Wind Farm
We submitted a detailed notice letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concerning the agency’s September 27, 2011 Biological Opinion that purports to authorize construction and operation of the Shaffer Mountain Wind Project, which is proposed to be located in Somerset and Bedford Counties, Pennsylvania. The proposed project site presents one of the gravest risks to an endangered species of any operating or proposed wind energy facility in the country, with a biologically critical maternity colony of the highly endangered Indiana bat located on the project site. Leading bat biologists have strongly urged the Service to consider alternative sites with less risk to bats, especially in light of the devastating impacts of a disease known as White Nose Syndrome that is ravaging Indiana bat populations and sending the species spiraling towards extinction, but the Service disregarded that expert advice and instead allowed lethal turbine operation subject to certain parameters. The Service’s approach was legally and scientifically baseless, as explained in our notice letter that can be found here.