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2 groups vow to stop Camp Perry turbine

PORT CLINTON — Two bird groups threatened to file a lawsuit over a long-disputed wind turbine to be built at Ottawa County’s Camp Perry.

The American Bird Conservancy, a nonprofit organization with its main office in The Plains, Va., and Oak Harbor’s Black Swamp Bird Observatory announced Wednesday they are prepared to sue to stop the Ohio National Guard from building a 198-foot, $1.5 million federally funded turbine near the Lake Erie shore.

The two groups, through the Washington law firm Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal, alerted the National Guard of their intent to sue for violations of acts meant to protect endangered species, bald eagles, and migratory birds. Black Swamp protested turbine placements in the migratory bird habitat and expressed concern about the site’s location near bald eagle nests, contending the tower will cause bird deaths.

In a letter to Camp Perry and other officials, attorneys requested a response by Jan. 20 regarding its concerns.

“If we do not receive an adequate response to our concerns by that date, ABC will have no choice but to consider legal action,” the letter states.

James Sims, a spokesman for the Ohio National Guard, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Kim Kaufman, Black Swamp’s executive director, said the organization “exhausted every other avenue” to resolve the issue and those attempts “failed on every level.”

She said the goal is to not have the turbine, or any others, constructed in the area.

The National Guard has contended the addition of a wind turbine allows it to expand its use of alternative energy at the camp, where solar power is already available. Last month, officials said they were on track to install the turbine by the end of February.

— Vanessa McCray

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