State to decide whether wind farm plan minimizes threat to animals

The state will decide today whether a plan to minimize eagle and bat mortality at a proposed wind farm in Goodhue County is adequate.

Goodhue Wind wants to build about 50 turbines on roughly 50 square-miles in Goodhue County, just north of Zumbrota in southeast Minnesota.

Some local residents say the developer's plan to protect eagles and bats is not adequate.

The company says it will apply for an eagle take permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The permit would allow the turbines to kill a certain number of eagles before the company would face penalties. The number is likely to be in the range of one bald eagle every two to three years.

The permit would require monitoring and management of the site to avoid impacts to eagles, bats, and loggerhead shrike.

According to one study, between three and 20 bats per megawatt are killed at wind farms in the upper Midwest each year.

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