Associated goes to bat for reliability and endangered species

When a G&T’s planned transmission line met a potential roadblock, the one-quarter ounce Indiana bat, the result was a win-win.
Working together, Associated Electric Cooperative and the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives developed an agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that protects habitat for endangered species, like the Indiana bat, and ensures reliable transmission for members.

The agreement was noted by the Conservation Federation of Missouri, which presented the association with its esteemed Conservation Organization of the Year award.

Missouri's electric cooperatives also received the Outstanding Achievement Award in environmental stewardship from the Missouri Waste Control Coalition for its environmental work, including the habitat preservation agreement.

Associated Electric and its member systems have a history of balancing members' needs for affordable, reliable electricity with environmental stewardship. When it came to building a new transmission line and protecting an endangered species, they again went for a win-win.

Bat background:

Added to the endangered species list in 1973, the Indiana bat lives in the Midwest to eastern U.S., as well as parts of southeastern Canada. In Missouri, it hibernates in caves in the Ozarks and southeastern part of the state.

Although no Indiana bats had been spotted in the area of the transmission line, a new U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rule prohibited clearing during the winter in the transmission corridor. This was in addition to the April 1 to Oct. 31 prohibition already in effect.

The potential impact of this new rule on costs and reliability prompted Associated Electric Cooperative, the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives and Associated Electric's six G&T owners to contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and propose an agreement.

The agency agreed member cooperative systems can maintain and build necessary transmission while protecting wildlife habitat – a balance that keeps power affordable and reliable for members and protects habitat for the endangered Indiana bat.

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