French wind farm faces opposition from D-Day veterans

Wind turbines stand in the Baltic 1 offshore wind farm on April 29, 2011 in the Baltic Sea near Zingst, Germany.

STEVE CHIOTKAIS: Federal authorities are trying to get to the bottom of at least six deaths of golden eagles in southern California. The focus is on a major wind farm project operated by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Now wind energy advocates worry the deaths could lead to prosecution, or at least very bad publicity.In France, a massive wind farm is facing opposition of a different sort. That project is planned for the coast of Normandy, visited every year by thousands of World War II veterans and their families.

The BBC's Christian Fraser reports from Paris.


CHRISTIAN FRASER: President Sarkozy earlier this year announced plans to create 6,000 megawatts of new offshore wind energy by 2020 - enough electricity to supply more than 3.5 million homes.

What he failed to mention at the time was that some of these giant wind turbines would be sunk into the sea off the D-Day beaches of Normandy.

Opponents have started an online petition to stop it and already they have over 5,000 signatures from 48 countries.

Jean-Louis Butre, from the federation for a sustainable environment, says the decision is sacrilegious. He hopes they can stop it otherwise they'll take it to court...

JEAN-LOUIS BUTRE: I got a phone call from England from a Royal Airforce group captain. He was very upset and he said you know if they build those turbines I will come back and bomb those turbines.

Aside from the controversy it has already created - siting the windmills will be a challenge in itself. The approaching sea bed is littered with unexploded munitions.

In Paris, I'm the BBC's Christian Fraser for Marketplace.

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