We thank Mr. Eric Robison for allowing us to post his response to the Editors of the Cumberland (Maryland) Times-News regarding their recent article “Which bat is which?”
Letter to the Editor,
I am responding to your article, “Which bat is which”, and was hoping to have a chance to offer the other side of the story.
In the past, Garrett County residents have had a good working relationship with Megan Miller from the Cumberland Times while she was assigned the Garrett beat, as it where, she will be missed, as she has moved on to greener pastures. In the past Megan would contact citizens from around Garrett County and give us a chance to offer some facts or at least a little back story to some of the issues within our county.
The article stated that Dan Feller with the Maryland Wildlife & Heritage Service of DNR had been contacted regarding the validity of a “robust population” of Indiana Bats living in John Friend cave. This cave was one named resource for the Indiana Bat in the filing of the Federal lawsuit against Constellation Green Energy, LLC. Mr. Feller refuted the bat population by saying “we haven’t had a substantiated record of the Indiana bat for a long time”. I found it disturbing that I personally contacted Dan Feller in March and April of 2010 and he would not go on record regarding bats at all. I then contacted Biologist Dan Boone (former endangered species coordinator of Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR)) and after months gained an ally regarding information about bats.
You must have failed to read the entire complaint filed with the court and should have pointed out the other bat resource within the complaint filing was the second half of paragraph 38 of the complaint reads “Constellation conducted acoustical surveys during construction and indeed detected the presence of Indiana bat calls resulting in a temporary halt to construction.” This information was forwarded to Save Western Maryland (SWM) attorneys thru the freedom of information act (FOIA) from Constellation’s attorneys when SWM first filed its 60 Day Notice of Intent. These recordings were done during the summer of 2010, oddly that fact was omitted from your article.
Save Western Maryland as a group, in filing this suit never requested that the operations of the Clipper/Criterion/Constellation project be delayed, stopped or altered. SWM requested that Court force Constellation, as a good corporate citizen, to file for and obtain an Incidental Take Permit (ITP) as the Federal law requires under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for federally endanger species, specifically the Indiana Bat, which Constellation said was present on their project site.
Hopefully in the future you will be willing to at least allow those that oppose issues that arise within their communities the opportunity to untie their hands and defend themselves prior to taking a beating in a public forum.
If you were to look at nearly every issue that Save Western Maryland has brought to light, in regards to our visiting Corporate Citizens, is the fact they have violated or not followed established Federal, State, and/or Local laws.
Eric Robison, Oakland Maryland
Allegheny Treasures note: The complaint filed by Save Western Maryland to which Mr. Robison refers is provided here for your convenience: