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Letter: Eagles' presence can't be denied

To the Editor:

Industrial wind project owner AWA Goodhue continues flailing to avoid performing pre-construction avian and bat studies recommended by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 

In their latest attempt at distortion, last month company representatives apparently told state and USFWS officials that Goodhue County should adopt a new manure management plan and more quickly remove road kill. Wildlife biologists from a consulting firm hired by AWA observed that eagles are attracted to feed on surface-spread manure and dead animals on the road. 

During his testimony June 30 at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, AWA attorney Todd Guerrero stated the company intended to follow all USFWS recommendations.  Instead, it appears that AWA continues their attempt to avoid reality and accountability.  

AWA's ludicrous suggestions follow the company's original statement that there are zero bald eagles nesting in the project footprint and that no eagle flight paths were observed through the project area.

Citizens worked closely with USFWS to document numerous eagles.

AWA's next assertion was that the only reason there were eagles in the project area was because farmers were purposely "baiting" the eagles with dead livestock. 

USFWS was far too smart to accept this distortion. They understand eagles are here primarily because they return to nest in the area they were fledged so long as the habitat can support them and their young. 

Now it seems that AWA wants to blame the eagles' presence on poor manure management and road kill management. 

  Is there no level too low for AWA Goodhue to stoop in their quest for $50 million of our federal tax money and the highest electric rate of any industrial wind project in Minnesota?

Kristi Rosenquist