Tags: wind | farms | eagles | permits | killing

Permits Would Give Wind Farms a Pass for Killing Eagles

Image: Permits Would Give Wind Farms a Pass for Killing Eagles A wind farm in Tehachapi, Calif.

Friday, 06 Dec 2013 07:45 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

Wind farms would get a pass for the incidental killing of eagles under a new Interior Department rule the White House has just finished reviewing, but would also be required to follow guidelines that assist in eagle preservation.

Energy companies would be extended a five-to-30 year pass that essentially overlooks the unintentional killing of bald and golden eagles, which are protected under federal law, The Hill reports.

Every year wind turbines kill thousands of birds that fly into them, which has led to strong criticism from conservationists who believe that massive electric-producing wind farms do more harm to the environment than good.

The administration came under fire in August over its permit proposal from green groups who wanted the government to conduct a comprehensive study on the potential negative environmental effects of wind turbines.

Last month the administration prosecuted its first case against an energy company for killing 14 eagles, which can be sucked into the blades while hunting for prey.

Duke Energy, which admitted guilt under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, agreed to pay $1 million for killing the eagles and other birds at two farms in Wyoming.

According to reports, research found that during the past three years energy farms in 10 states had killed 67 golden and bald eagles since 2008.

The government research was one of the first studies into the wind energy industry, which has been a pillar of President Barack Obama's plans to reduce the pollution blamed for global warming.

The government completed its rule review, which also applies to oil rigs and electric lines, on Thursday.

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