MINNEAPOLIS—Bird lovers launched a last-ditch drive at a Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority meeting to protect migratory species from what they consider a killer Minnesota Vikings football stadium being built with $500 million in taxpayer funding.

The Minnesota Citizens for the Protection of Migratory Birds called on Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton to fire facilities authority chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen.

“The MSFA and the Vikings leveraging their power to make choices, which insult the values of the people who are paying for it, is an outstanding example of a corrupt system in which the desires of just a few individuals can override the desires and values of many thousands more,” said Wendy Hann, a member of the citizens group in addressing MSFA board members Monday.

One of Dayton’s closest allies, Kelm-Helgen has refused to push for bird-friendly fritted glass at a cost of $1 million. The project’s total budget is$1 billion.

An email from a Dayton environmental aide indicates the governor “isn’t going to weigh in on this.”

The controversy involves a huge glass exterior that critics maintain will reflect the sky and lead to thousands of bird deaths at the stadium, located blocks from the Mississippi River flyway used by migratory species.

As the glass gained public visibility last summer, Kelm-Helgen and the Vikings initially blamed the cost before turning to design issues as the reason for rejecting a bird-safe substitute.

Tens of thousands of emails and calls have flooded the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority and team offices from birders around the country over a design that critics claim would not be approved today under new bird-safe state guidelines implemented after the project’s onset.

“Our ‘new’ stadium could not be built by today’s standard. Our ‘new’ stadium is already old,” said Wayne Swanson, one of about two dozen members of the citizen group protesting at the meeting. “Bird-safe glass does not have to delay the opening because it’s not new glass or a different design, but a treatment applied to the glass they have already ordered.”

But when the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority signed off on the latest round of upgrades for lockers, seating and concession at the board meeting, there was nothing for the birds.

Read more at Watchdog.org.