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Western Md. wind project gets conditional approval

OAKLAND — State regulators have given conditional approval to a proposed wind power project in far western Maryland.

The Maryland Public Service Commission this week approved the construction of up to 15 wind turbines on Backbone Mountain, about five miles south of Oakland. But it said the developer, a subsidiary of Chicago-based Exelon Corp., will have to show how it will minimize the impact of the project on endangered species.

Some residents and environmentalists are opposed to the project, noting that the nearby Criterion Wind development is the deadliest industrial wind project in North America for bats and birds.

Exelon spokesman Robert Judge says the company is consulting with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on a bird and bat conservation strategy.