Settlement Filed in Dispute Over Wind Farms Injuring Birds

Company helping fund windfarm said it was misled about the threat to hawks and eagles

By Molly Priddy

GREAT FALLS — A settlement of a lawsuit involving a Montana wind farm and protections for hawks and eagles has been reached.

The Great Falls Tribune reports that windfarm owner NaturEner USA and San Diego Gas & Electric have reached an agreement. A conditional settlement agreement to end litigation was filed Feb. 11 with the California Public Utilities Commission, which still needs to rule on the proposal.

SDG&E agreed to help finance the Rim Rock windfarm and purchase power, but later sued NaturEner, arguing it had been misled about the threat to raptors. NaturEner then filed a breach-of-contract counter suit.

Under the proposed settlement, SDG&E would end a $285 million tax equity investment but would continue to purchase power generated at the wind farm. NaturEner would apply for an eagle take permit, which would authorize the disturbance to raptors.

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