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Environmental, cultural objections filed to stop Nevada wind farm

A proposed White Pine County wind farm has run into a two-pronged effort to stop turbines from being erected there.

A lawsuit was filed in a Las Vegas federal courtroom earlier this week, claiming that the Bureau of Land Management didn't adhere to federal environmental regulations or American Indian cultural edicts when approving the Spring Valley Wind project near Great Basin National Park.

The suit was filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, the Western Watershed Project, the Duckwater Shoshone Tribe, the Ely Shoshone Tribe and the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation.

The project would place 75 wind turbines four miles from a cave where more than a million Mexican free-tailed bats roost each autumn and near a site where more than 100 American Indians were massacred in 1863.

The suit is an attempt to stop developers of the 150-megawatt wind-generation farm about 30 miles east of Ely from clearing land and beginning construction.

The Bureau of Land Management issued its approval of project plans last October. The plaintiffs are asking the court to strike that approval because, they claim, agency failed to carry out a full environmental impact study.

Plaintiffs compare the project's 7,600-acre site to "industrial sprawl" that would damage sage grouse and raptors in addition to the migratory bats.

In a statement for the press, a spokesperson for Spring Valley Wind wrote that "if the Spring Valley project is not environmentally acceptable, then no project in Nevada will ever be acceptable."

Biologists worry that the bats roosting for one to three days near the proposed wind farm site will collide with the large turbines or suffer physical damage from changes in barometric pressure near the whirling rotor blades.

Resource: The Ely Times: "Suit filed to block work on Spring Valley Wind Farm and make BLM redo permits": January 28, 2011

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