Saturday, November 23, 2013

Wind company pays fine over eagle deaths

Wind company pays fine over eagle deaths
November 22, 2013, 05:57 pm
By Julian Hattem
A renewable power company has agreed to pay $1 million over the deaths of more than a dozen protected eagles and other birds at its wind farms.

The settlement with Duke Energy is the first time the Obama administration, which has been a strong backer of wind power, has penalized a wind energy company for killing eagles.

According to the Justice Department’s settlement, announced on Friday, 14 golden eagles and 149 other protected birds were killed at two Duke Energy wind farms in Wyoming within the last three years.

Golden eagles are not endangered species, but are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

“We deeply regret the impacts to golden eagles at two of our wind facilities,” Duke Energy Renewables President Greg Wolf said in a statement. “We have always self reported all incidents, and from the time we discovered the first fatality, we’ve been working closely with the Fish and Wildlife Service to take proactive steps to correct the problem.”

Hundreds of thousands of birds are killed every year when they accidentally fly into giant wind turbine blades, though likely only a small number of them are protected eagles. Wildlife groups say that birds of prey scanning the ground below for food often ignore the blades ahead of them.

Tim Hayes, an environmental development director at the energy company, said that the facilities were developed “during a period when our company’s and the wind industry’s understanding of eagle impacts at wind farms was still evolving.”

“This agreement will help advance the knowledge of wind wildlife interactions to further reduce the industry's relatively small impacts," the American Wind Energy Association said in a statement.

The wind energy sector has experienced a boon under the Obama administration. While the president has been in office, the industry has grown by about 30 percent each year. 

The Fish and Wildlife Service grants permits to allow companies to build wind farms as long as they use “advanced conservation practices” to protect the animals.

A regulation under final review at the White House’s regulations office would extend those permits, which currently last for five years, to 30. 

Duke Energy
James E. Rogers is the chairman for the Duke Energy Corporation, a trustee at the Aspen Institute (think tank), and a trustee at the Brookings Institution (think tank).

Note: Foundation to Promote Open Society was a funder for the Aspen Institute (think tank), and the Brookings Institution (think tank).
George Soros is the chairman for the Foundation to Promote Open Society.
Vernon E. Jordan Jr. is an honorary trustee at the Brookings Institution (think tank), Valerie B. Jarrett’s great uncle, a senior counsel for Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, LLP, a director at the American Friends of Bilderberg (think tank), and a 2008 Bilderberg conference participant (think tank).
Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, LLP was the lobby firm for the American Wind Energy Association.
Past Research
Study: Wind Farms Killed 67 Eagles in 5 Years
Wednesday, November 20, 2013

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