Prove your humanity

Two birding groups have filed suit to block the Ohio National Guard from building a commercial-scale wind turbine along the shore of western Lake Erie.

The American Bird Conservancy and the Black Swamp Bird Observatory of Ohio filed suit in U.S. District Court in Washington. They say the Ohio Air National Guard’s wind turbine project at Camp Perry, less than a mile from the Lake Erie shoreline, has already violated the Endangered Species Act and other environmental regulations.

“They actually built the foundation for this turbine before they’d even gotten a biological opinion from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is illegal,” says the American Bird Conservancy’s Michael Hutchins. He says the Ohio National Guard spent $200,000 of taxpayer money to build that foundation. The turbine project is expected to cost $1.5 million.

The lawsuit also claims the project didn’t properly consider the proximity of numerous bald eagle nests, or the likelihood that the turbine will kill migratory birds. “They don’t have to build a turbine that close to Lake Erie, which is one of the greatest confluences of migratory birds and bats in the world,” Hutchins says.

The Ohio National Guard declined to comment while the lawsuit is pending.