Parrot concern and permit refusal reversed at Bald Hills

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Nine months after plans for Wind Power Pty's 104 MW Bald Hills wind farm in South Gippsland, Victoria, came to a standstill the project is back on track. Australia's just replaced federal environment minister, Ian Campbell has reversed his controversial decision from last April overruling the state's approval of the project. At the time, he said it could pose a threat to the endangered orange-bellied parrot (Windpower Monthly, May 2006). Campbell cited a report saying a worst case scenario could involved the potential death of one parrot every 667 years as a result of Bald Hills and 22 other proposed wind farm developments in Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia. While Campbell's statements were much maligned by the wind industry and several environmental groups, Wind Power has nonetheless agreed to move six turbines to ensure the parrots' migratory path is not encroached upon. Expressing relief at Campbell's change of heart, Wind Power's Andrew Newbold says: "It should not be this hard to do something about climate change when half of Victoria is on fire because of it." Construction costs for the 52 turbine project have risen substantially, up A$30 million to A$250 million. The company is taking legal advice on any losses it might incur due to the delay caused by Campbell's intervention.

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