Turbines are Due a Close Review

Mill Creek wind farm has the potential to be more than the largest wind farm in Missouri. It also could be disruptive to migratory birds and impact the Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge.

Element Power of Portland, Ore., which is developing Mill Creek, proposes erecting more than100 wind turbines in a 30,000-acre area in Holt County. The project area lies east of Squaw Creek between seven conservation areas.

This part of our region is a vibrant bird conservation area, with about 300 different species of birds annually flying through the refuge. Bald eagles and waterfowl are among the annual visitors.

Rotating wind turbines could cause trouble for these birds and native bats. Conservation groups have raised formal complaints, saying they are worried the wildlife could be killed or would have to change flight patterns to adapt.

Raising the flag of the Endangered Species Act is a contentious issue in Holt County, which has been hard hit by flooding and river management issues of the Missouri River related to species protection. The wind farm could bring economic vitality to the county, projecting to hire 300 workers during construction, with 12 to 14 permanent jobs created once it is operating. Local landowners would profit from having a turbine on their property.

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