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Green group says wind power is killing bats and birds, sues Interior Department for lack of transparency.


Bird group sues Obama administration over wind power

Green group says wind power is killing bats and birds, sues Interior Department for lack of transparency.

A lack of transparency by top Obama administration officials has prompted an environmental group to sue the Interior Department to determine whether wind power projects are killing large numbers of bats and birds.

The American Bird Conservancy (ABC) filed the lawsuit Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia accusing the government of intentionally withholding the information and refusing to comply with requests for certain documents under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

â??Itâ??s ridiculous that Americans have to sue in order to find out what their government is saying to wind companies about our wildlife,â? Kelly Fuller, ABC spokeswoman said in a statement announcing the legal action.

A spokesman for the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In particular, the conservation group wants to see correspondence between the government agency and private wind development companies that discussed wildlife fatalities caused by the alternative energy developments.

President Barack Obama pledged to make his administration the most transparent in history, and during his first month in office directed federal agencies to respond to FOIA requests in a prompt manner. â??A democracy requires accountability, and accountability requires transparency,â? Obama said.

Fuller said the groupâ??s lawsuit asks the court to enforce the presidentâ??s promise. â??Some (Interior) offices have not sent a single document that we asked for, even though the agencies were legally required to do so more than seven months ago,â? Fuller said.

Daniel Ashe, FWS director, said in a March letter to the conservation group that the agency was being â??meticulously transparentâ? in addressing the impact of wind power on wildlife, and asked for ABCâ??s help in assessing their voluntary guidelines, Fuller said.

Being denied access to the information makes that task impossible and is hardly transparent, Fuller said.

The wind development projects are located in Arizona, California, Florida, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Texas. The group says there are more than 2,000 locations in the U.S. where birds are vulnerable to the impacts of wind energy development.

Written By

Audrey Hudson is an award-winning investigative journalist whose enterprise reporting has sparked numerous congressional investigations that led to laws signed by Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. She won the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi award for Public Service in 2009 for her report on dangerous drug experiments by the federal government on war veterans, which prompted internal investigations and needed reforms within the Veterans Affairs Department. The report also captured first place for investigative reporting by the Washington, D.C. chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and was a finalist of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences Webby Awards for news and politics. Her breaking stories have been picked up and followed by major news publications and periodicals, including Readers Digest, Washington Monthly, and The Weekly Standard, as well as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Washington Post. With nearly 20 years of experience in Washington as a newspaper reporter and as a Capitol Hill staffer for Western lawmakers, she will now lead Human Eventsâ?? coverage of energy and environmental issues. A native of Kentucky, Mrs. Hudson has worked inside the Beltway for nearly two decades -- on Capitol Hill as a Senate and House spokeswoman, and most recently at The Washington Times covering Congress, Homeland Security, and the Supreme Court. Audreyâ??s email is AHudson@EaglePub.Co