North Dakota’s habitat proposal upsets energy companies

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – North Dakota’s efforts to reduce the impact of wind development on wildlife habitats are drawing opposition from energy and agriculture industries.

The Bismarck Tribune reports that the state Game and Fish Department has proposed voluntary guidelines aimed at steering wind developers away from building turbines and roads in wildlife habitats. The guidelines also outline a way companies can offset their impact to habitats via projects that restore or reconstruct habitats elsewhere.

Utility company officials said last week they weren’t given the opportunity to comment on the proposal. They also questioned the department’s authority to develop guidelines they say could be interpreted as requirements.

Department officials say they’ll keep working with stakeholders to revise the recommendations.

The agency says North Dakota has 12 species on the federal threatened and endangered list.