For wind farms, bald eagles’ deaths are getting a special permit by the Obama administration that goes against a 73-year old law.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, bald eagle deaths from one wind farm company led to a $1 million fine.
It is estimated that nearly 600,000 birds are killed in US wind farms every year. These numbers include over 80,000 birds of prey, including the bald eagles which have just come back from the brink of extinction. Normally, killing a bald eagle results in a very hefty fine and even prison time in some circumstances.
The Obama administration’s energy plan includes $1 billion per year in tax breaks for wind farm companies, which means they only continue to grow in number…and as a threat to bald eagles. Some critics have accused President Obama of ignoring the issue and playing favorites.
In the case of Duke Energy, the alternative energy company plead guilty to killing 14 eagles and 149 other birds at two wind farms. The case was the first one prosecuted under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. But in the past oil companies have faced steep fines for causing bird deaths. For example, BP was fined $100 million for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. PacifiCorp was fined over $10 million for the electrocution deaths of 232 eagles in 2009. Exxon Mobile was fined $600,000 for the deaths of 85 birds from an oil spill in 2009.
And now the Obama administration announced a new 30 year permit for wind farms that allow them to accidentally kill bald eagles with immunity from fines. While the alternative energy companies would have to take “additional measures” if the bald eagle populations are affected more than expected the Interior Department hasn’t released the information on what exactly this means.
NWF spokesman John Kostyack says this new wind farm permit for bald eagles does not provide “certainty for the eagles and make sure they’re protected.” But John Anderson, the director of siting policy at the American Wind Energy Association, defends this idea from the Obama administration, claiming it isn’t about killing eagles:
“This is not a program to kill eagles. This permit program is about conservation.”
Conversations groups are not buying that argument. For example, Audubon President and CEO David Yarnold said the decision by the Interior Department essentially is the sanctioned killing of an American icon:
“Instead of balancing the need for conservation and renewable energy, Interior wrote the wind industry a blank check. It’s outrageous that the government is sanctioning the killing of America’s symbol, the bald eagle.”
Do you think it’s fair for the Obama administration to give a special wind farm, bald eagles killing permit?