Feds to Let Wind Farms Kill Bald Eagles
Without penalty for 30 years, if they have a permit
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 6, 2013 11:26 AM CST
This April 18, 2013 file photo shows a golden eagle flying over a wind turbine on Duke energy's top of the world wind farm in Converse County, Wyo.   (Dina Cappiello)

(Newser) – The Obama administration said today it will allow some companies to kill or injure bald and golden eagles for up to 30 years without penalty, in an effort to spur development and investment in green energy while balancing its environmental consequences. The change, requested by the wind energy industry, will provide legal protection for wind energy companies that obtain a permit and make efforts to avoid killing the birds. Companies would have to commit to take additional measures if they kill or injure more eagles than they have estimated they would, or if new information suggests that eagle populations are being affected. The permits would be reviewed every five years, and companies would have to submit reports of how many eagles they kill.

An investigation by the AP earlier this year documented the illegal killing of eagles around wind farms, the Obama administration's reluctance to prosecute such cases, and its willingness to help keep the scope of the eagle deaths secret. The White House has championed wind power, a pollution-free energy intended to ease global warming, as a cornerstone of President Barack Obama's energy plan. Wind farms are clusters of turbines as tall as 30-story buildings, with spinning rotors as wide as a passenger jet's wingspan. Though the blades appear to move slowly, they can reach speeds of up to 170mph at the tips, creating tornado-like vortexes. Flying eagles don't look up; as they scan below for food, they don't notice the industrial turbine blades until it's too late. Click for more.

Copyright 2016 Newser, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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Dec 8, 2013 1:43 PM CST
Put a flashing light on the tip of each blade and see if that does, are does not, alert the eagles to danger.
Dec 8, 2013 8:11 AM CST
The idea of centralizing power production is rooted in the profits derived by energy companies. Thus, giant wind farms. However, if government subsidized domestic power production instead of corporate power generation, people could produce their own power, and with far less impact on wildlife. For example, solar panels have no moving parts, thus no impact on wildlife or on the environment.
Dec 8, 2013 1:26 AM CST
We have only to see our ocean shores for the vast amount amount of potential energy. So far there is no practical way to harness it. Look at those huge waves in surfing documentaries. Tsunamis are excellent examples of powerful energy.