Hawaii wind farm to fund research after bat, petrel deaths

HONOLULU — The operator of a Hawaii wind farm has agreed to fund research into their environmental practices after some endangered species were killed by their turbines.

Kawailoa Wind agreed to pay $250,000 to research how their turbines have affected the Hawaiian hoary bat and other endangered species in the area, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Saturday.

The agreement came after an unexpected amount of hoary bats were killed by Kawailoa’s turbines. Two Hawaiian petrels have also been found dead. Kawailoa has pledged to help fund research into the petrel, which conservationists once believed was extinct for hundreds of years.

The executive director of the Pacific Rim Conservation, Lindsay Young, said her organization had detected some Hawaiian petrels five years ago, but not enough to prove that the population was expanding.

“They are almost certainly breeding here now,” Young said.

The environmental advocacy group Keep the North Shore Country had lobbied to change Kawailoa’s conservation policies and has accused the company of not adequately addressing the turbines’ effect on the local wildlife.

Kawailoa Wind officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment made by the Star-Advertiser.

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