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For the Birds

In Brief

March 23, 2011, 1:00 am

Potential wind farm developers will pay more, following an ordinance passed last week in San Miguel County. 

The ordinance—the latest attempt to balance environmental concerns with sustainable energy demands—ramps up application fees for contractors developing wind farms, while also creating more stringent bird-study requirements.

Versions of the ordinance have been submitted to the San Miguel Board of County Commissioners multiple times since last year, and will most immediately affect a wind farm proposed for Bernal Mesa, near Las Vegas. Invenergy LLC began leasing the land from the state Land Office in 2008, but the 50-turbine project faced concerns from local residents and environmentalists statewide. 

Under the new ordinance, the application fee for such projects jumps from $1,500 to $10,000, San Miguel Planning and Zoning Supervisor Alex Tafoya tells SFR. The now-required Avian Impact Study is to create compliance with the Migratory Bird Treaty, the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection, and the Environmental Policy acts.

Invenergy spokeswoman Alissa Krinsky says no starting date for construction has been set because the company is going through the permitting process.


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