Voluntary guidelines intended both to accelerate New York's booming wind power industry and protect birds and bats were proposed early this year by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The proposal provides a standardised method for completing environmental assessments with the intention of streamlining the permitting process while improving the quality of the information obtained on bird and bat populations. Protocols for pre-construction studies and post-construction monitoring are included. Until now, assessments have been carried out on a case-by-case basis. Public comments are being accepted through the first week of this month and the guidelines are likely to be in place later this year, according to DEC's Maureen Wren. "But that depends on whether there are substantive or significant issues that are raised by the public comments," Wren says. "It has been a collaborative process and we hope it continues to be so." DEC started on the work after a stakeholder workshop in 2006. Wind power capacity in New York is expected to double to more than 800 MW in the summer and 30 further wind farm siting proposals are under environmental review.
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