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Dispute over eagles, wind farm back in state court

By The Associated Press
Published On: Jan 19 2014 09:10:15 AM MST
BILLINGS, Mont. -

A dispute over a Montana wind farm is back in state court for a judge to decide if the project's developers took enough steps to protect nearby golden eagles.
    
A U.S. subsidiary of the Spanish wind power company NaturEner says it's gone to great lengths to minimize harm to large birds that approach its 126-turbine Rim Rock wind farm near Cut Bank.
    
San Diego Gas & Electric promised in 2012 to invest $285 million in the wind farm. Now the utility wants to back out of the deal, saying NaturEner misrepresented the project's risk to eagles.
    
A federal court on Jan. 15 rejected SDG&E's argument that the case hinges on federal wildlife laws.
    
NaturEner is seeking to block the utility from cancelling its contract with a Jan. 31 deadline looming.