The American Bird Conservancy filed suit in federal court over 30-year permits allowing wind energy operations to kill eagles. On June 19, 2014, the American Bird Conservancy filed suit over DOI regulations that allow wind energy companies to obtain permits to kill eagles without prosecution over a 30-year period. From the website:
The previous rule, adopted in 2009, provided for a maximum duration of five years for each permit to kill eagles. According to a statement issued at that time by FWS in the Federal Register, a permit of any longer duration “would be incompatible with the preservation of the Bald or Golden Eagle.” Yet just four years later DOI has increased by six-fold the time during which eagles could be killed, without offering a strong scientific justification for this change. ABC is initiating the legal action in order to have the rule invalidated pending full compliance with federal environmental statutes.
ABC believes wind energy and other renewable energy sources can be encouraged without putting Bald and Golden Eagles at risk. “In the government’s rush to expand wind energy, shortcuts were taken in implementing this rule that should not have been allowed,” said Hutchins.[Dr. Michael Hutchins, National Coordinator of ABC’s Bird Smart Wind Energy Program] “We understand that some bird mortality is inevitable. However, in this case, long-term, cumulative impacts to eagle populations were not properly assessed, and the 30-year take permit rule was adopted in the absence of the required NEPA analysis concerning impacts on eagle populations or any other species that share the eagles’ range.”
Maybe this will put the wind energy program under the same requirements as other industries.