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Gov. Ted Strickland, D-Ohio, has signed an agreement that will speed the development of wind power generation while establishing reasonable safeguards for the conservation of Ohio's natural resources.

The Cooperation Agreement establishes a collaborative relationship between the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and JW Great Lakes Wind LLC for future wind energy development projects.

The agreement establishes timelines for information sharing about wind energy development projects, encourages communication and cooperation on evaluating risks to wildlife resources, and identifies pre- and post-construction monitoring activities to help avoid or mitigate potentially adverse impacts to wildlife and native plant resources.

"This agreement speeds the development of renewable energy, protects our natural resources and serves as a catalyst to job creation," says Strickland. "By establishing a clear, predictable methodology for assessing potential impacts to wildlife, it will help business predict costs and establish aggressive long-term business models. This agreement is a key step toward giving Ohio the tools to compete for the next generation of green jobs."

The agreement includes the following provisions regarding:

- the importance of developing renewable energy resources in an environmentally sustainable and conscientious manner;

- the need for early information exchange between developers and the ODNR so project siting decisions can benefit from knowledge of wildlife and rare plant communities, and avoid wetlands and other important habitats;

- Use of all reasonable and feasible best management practices to ensure the long-term conservation of Ohio's wildlife resources and natural habitat communities;

- timetables for project development and sharing data from relevant wildlife monitoring studies; and

- the commitment of developers and ODNR to work collaboratively to review relevant data and resolve issues of mutual interest and concern.

SOURCE: Ohio Department of Natural Resources


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