CONCORD, N.H. (AP) – A proposal to construct a $247 million wind farm has raised the ire of wildlife advocates and preservationists, who argue that the project would destroy old-growth forests that provide a habitat for threatened animals.

But Granite Reliable Power says the wind farm would create up to 210 jobs and provide enough power to supply 40,000 homes, advantages that outweigh the environmentalists’ concerns.

“I think there are three real benefits that we are talking about. There is energy benefits, there is economic benefits and environmental benefits associated with the project,” said Pip Decker, development manager for Noble Environmental Power of Connecticut, which controls Granite Reliable Power.

Opponents are concerned about disturbing wildlife, clearing land on untouched, mountain ridgelines and losing about 14 acres of wetlands.

Early this year, the Appalachian Mountain Club and New Hampshire Fish and Game filed reports strongly objecting to parts of the project. But last month, the AMC and Fish and Game came to a tentative agreement with Granite Reliable Power that calls for the company to protect about 2,200 acres of nearby land.

Lisa Linowes, executive director of The Industrial Wind Action Group, believes wildlife groups are getting a raw deal.

“From my perspective, Fish and Game and AMC have caved to Noble Environmental’s wishes and have taken very little in return,” Linowes said.

The company has yet to prove it can pay for the project, argued Peter Roth, an assistant attorney general appointed to look out for consumers. He said he worries the company will clear the land and then run out of money.

“So what you have is an environmental impact without corresponding benefits to the people of New Hampshire,” he said.

The state’s Site Evaluation Committee will hold hearings on the proposal starting Monday. A final decision is expected in April.

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