Court finds USFWS failed to consider bat protections

©Ann Froschauer/USFWS

Federal judges found that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service failed to properly consider ways to minimize detrimental effects of a wind energy project on federally endangered Indiana bats (Myotis sodalis) before issuing an incidental take permit. The permit would allow unintentional harm, harassment, or killing of the bats as a result of the project’s construction and operation.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit sided with the Ohio-based Union Neighbors United, a nonprofit group that originally filed suit against USFWS in 2013. The group argued that when USFWS reviewed the project proposal to build 100 wind turbines, the agency did not adequately examine alternatives that would harm fewer bats. The ruling states that by failing to consider alternatives, USFWS did not meet its National Environmental Policy Act obligations and issuing the incidental take permit was “arbitrary and capricious.”

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