Court Says That Forest Service Complied With Federal Law in Evaluating Wind Power Station For Development on Public Land.

The plaintiffs challenged a decision of the U.S. Forest Service USFS) which authorized  the issuance of a special permit for the development of a wind power station on National Forest land.  The plaintiffs sought a permanent injunction of the project and the prohibition of the USFS from issuing a special use permit, or at least until the USFS had conducted additional environmental studies.  The plaintiffs claimed that the USFS had violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Wilderness Act (on the ground that a nearby wilderness area would be impacted by nighttime blinking lights on the aerogenerators).  The court upheld the USFS determination.  The court found that the USFS  had sufficiently analyzed the visual and sound impacts of the wind power station on the nearby wilderness area under the NEPA.  The court also held that the range of alternatives studied were not legally inadequate, and that the USFS had adequately considered and disclosed the environmental impact of potential blasting.  The court also held that the USFS had satisfied the NEPA in terms of properly considering the impacts of the wind power station project on bats.  The court also held that the Wilderness Act had not been violated inasmuch as the USFS had thoroughly considered the effect of the wind power station on the nearby wilderness area.  Vermonters For A Clean Environment, Inc., et al. v. Madrid, et al., No. 1:12-CV-73, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 177488 (D. Vt. Dec. 24, 2014).        

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