State officials Thursday approved building a 49-turbine wind farm in Beaufort County amid concern over migratory birds at nearby Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge.
The approval from the N.C. Utilities Commission doesn't mean the plan can go forward though. It still needs state and federal environmental permits.
The utilities commission simply said it had no legal authority to deny approval.
Chicago-based Invenergy wants to build 500 foot tall turbines over 11,000 acres. The blades could spin 100 miles per hour.
Environmentalists want more research on potential impacts for migratory birds before the project gets the go ahead.