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The highly deadly white-nose syndrome has spread rapidly since it was discovered in New York in 2006. The disease has killed millions of bats, including many in Wisconsin. Lindsey Heffernan / Pennsylvania Game Commission

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking the public’s suggestions for an environmental impact statement for an eight-state Midwestern plan designed to help conserve the habitats of several species of animals, including bats that can be harmed by wind turbines.

The states are Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.

The environmental impact statement will assess the effects of giving various operations, such as wind energy facilities, “incidental take” permits, which would give them immunity from prosecution for any incidental bat deaths or injuries.

To learn more about the statement and the regional habitat conservation plan, known as the Midwest Wind Energy Multi-species Habitat Conservation Plan, visit the federal eRulemaking portal atregulations.gov and type or cut-and-paste Docket Number FWS-R3-ES-2015-0033 into the horizontal search box.

A public meeting is scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 14, at the Warner Park Community Recreation Center, 1625 Northport Drive, Madison.
The wildlife service also will conduct an online public meeting July 28 at 1 p.m. More details are at midwestwindenergyhcpeis.org.

Steve Cherry is a reporter for the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism.

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