Invenergy Wind LLC says construction of its Greenbrier County, W.Va., wind farm will proceed immediately following U.S. District Judge Roger Titus' approval of a stipulation and settlement with plaintiffs Animal Welfare Institute, Mountain Communities for Responsible Energy and David G. Cowan.
Last December, Judge Titus ruled that the developer was in violation of the Endangered Species Act because of potential harm to the Indiana bat. The ruling also stipulated that construction be halted.
‘We are very pleased to have reached an agreement that allows us to move forward with creating clean, renewable energy in Greenbrier County while at the same time meeting the goals of important wildlife conservation efforts,’ said Joe Condo, Invenergy vice president/general counsel, in a statement.
‘This compromise will permit Beech Ridge Energy to continue employing skilled West Virginia construction workers to finish building the project and to proceed with the hiring of the full-time local operations team.’
Pursuant to the stipulation, Beech Ridge Energy LLC, an affiliate of Invenergy Wind LLC, may immediately construct and bring into operation up to the 67 turbines originally planned for the initial phase of the project with certain alterations made to the original project configuration. Beech Ridge may operate the project year-round.
Until the project obtains an incidental take permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, it will be subject to certain time-of-day restrictions during seasons when Indiana bats are out of hibernation.
Under the terms of the agreement, Beech Ridge also may, in the future, expand the initial phase of the project by an additional 33 turbines.
Condo continued, ‘The agreement allows the project to begin providing clean energy to West Virginia in the first half of 2010. We look forward to working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the incidental take pPermit process, including development of a habitat conservation plan that will demonstrate that wildlife conservation, including Indiana bat protection, can be achieved hand-in-hand with the expeditious development of renewable energy that is so important to America's environment and security.’
SOURCE: Invenergy Wind LLC