Friday, October 23, 2009

Wind Turbines in W. Va. Face Lawsuit Over Danger to Indiana Bats

A wind farm project in Greenbrier County, W. Va., is in federal court because opponents, including a local caving enthusiast and the Animal Welfare Institute, sued the developers of the wind farm under the Endangered Species Act.

The lawsuit is the nation's first court challenge to a wind farm under the Endangered Species Act. Plaintiffs are suing on the grounds that the wind turbines will harm the Indiana bat, which spends the spring and summer in forests and migrates to caves to hibernate in the fall. The caves are near the wind farm, and the plaintiffs say the bats are likely to fly into the 389-foot wind turbine blades.

The Indiana bat has been on the endangered species list since 1967.

Wildlife experts and wind power producers have known for several years that wind turbines cause bats to die. In 2008, researchers determined that the deaths occur mainly due to internal hemorrhaging as the reduced air pressure near the turbine blades leads to internal trauma in bats' light and delicate bodies.

In this blog, I've written about bats dying mysteriously because of white-nose syndrome, a mysterious fungus that appears on their faces and wings. That disease is still not understood.

Poor little bats. Their world is under so much stress.

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