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BIRD THREAT TO ALTAMOUNT RE-POWERING

Federal wildlife officials are hinting they will object again to plans by Kenetech Windpower to repower its Altamont Pass wind plant. At issue are killings of golden eagles, an endangered species. Kenetech hopes to start replacing 3410 of its 56-100 units in northern California with 1705 larger models starting in 1996 and until the end of the decade. "Wind power has obviously been identified as a serious situation," David McMullin of the US Fish and Wildlife Service told a California newspaper last month. "The service still wants a solution [to bird kills] before the industry expands." McMullin told the Tri-Valley Herald that a possible change in federal laws, allowing so called "incidental" golden eagle kills, is being pushed for by Kenetech. The possible change in federal laws was first publicised at the Windpower '95 conference in Washington DC. "Our preference is to solve the problem, not to make changes in the laws," McMullin told the newspaper. The Fish and Wildlife service scuttled a similar proposal by Kenetech to expand nearly three years ago.

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