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Interior Dept. Rule Greenlights Eagle Slaughter at Wind Farms, Says Audubon CEO
New Rule Will Authorize 30-Year Permits for Killing America’s National Bird
Dec 5, 2013
In a stunningly bad move for eagles, the U.S. Department of the Interior has finalized a new rule that would make it possible to grant wind energy companies 30-year permits to kill Bald and Golden eagles. Audubon’s CEO released the following statement:“Instead of balancing the need for conservation and renewable energy, Interior wrote the wind industry a blank check,” said Audubon President and CEO David Yarnold. “It’s outrageous that the government is sanctioning the killing of America’s symbol, the Bald Eagle. Audubon will continue to look for reasonable, thoughtful partners to wean America off fossil fuels because that should be everyone’s highest priority. We have no choice but to challenge this decision, and all options are on the table.”
The new federal rule is designed to address environmental consequences that stand in the way of the nation’s wind-energy rush: the dozens of bald and golden eagles being killed each year by the giant, spinning blades of wind turbines.
An Associated Press investigation this year documented the illegal killing of eagles near wind farms, the Obama administration’s reluctance to prosecute such cases and its willingness to help keep the scope of the eagle deaths secret. President Obama has championed the pollution-free energy, nearly doubling America’s wind power in his first term as a way to tackle global warming.
Last month, Duke Energy pleaded guilty to killing eagles and other birds at two wind farms in Wyoming, the first time a wind-energy company had been prosecuted under a law protecting migratory birds. The company agreed to pay $1 million in fines.
A study by federal biologists in September found that wind farms since 2008 had killed at least 67 bald and golden eagles, a number that the researchers said was likely underestimated. That did not include deaths at Altamont Pass, an area in Northern California where wind farms kill about 60 eagles a year.