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Rule Change a ‘Federal Hunting License’ to Let Wind Farms Kill Eagles

Audubon says "all options are on the table" to challenge unilateral Interior Dept. decision to grant 30-year "take" permits to renewable energy producers.

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

December 6, 2013 - 4:19 pm
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WASHINGTON — The Interior Department issued a rule change to allow renewable energy producers lengthier permit periods under which they can “take” — kill, injure or disturb — bald and golden eagle populations.

Wind-energy producers used to be able to get five-year permits from the federal government that allowed the “taking” of these all-American birds during the course of production activities. Now, they’ll be able to get a permit good for up to 30 years.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) called the news “appalling.”

“By now it’s no secret this administration will go to great lengths to tilt the scales to benefit the wind industry at great cost to taxpayers, and at the cost of killing a great symbol of freedom,” Alexander said.

Interior began its permitting program in 2009 under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, which authorizes the “programmatic take” of eagles, according to the department, “associated with, but not the purpose of, an otherwise lawful activity and does not have a long-term impact on the population.”

Interior said the five-year permit “does not reflect the actual operating parameters of most renewable energy projects or other similar long-term project operations,” and the 30-year permit has a review built in every five years. That review would include determining that a wind producer hasn’t exceeded its limits in the number of eagles they’re allowed to “take.” The government claims that the five-year reports of eagle deaths will increase transparency and accountability in the industry.

The new rules also allow the permit to be transferred to new owners taking over a renewable energy project. Permit prices will also go up.

“Renewable energy development is vitally important to our nation’s future, but it has to be done in the right way,” said Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. “The changes in this permitting program will help the renewable energy industry and others develop projects that can operate in the longer term, while ensuring bald and golden eagles continue to thrive for future generations.”

The final rule states “there are potential benefits to eagles from issuing permits in situations in which take is unlikely, because such ‘low-risk’ permits will require monitoring and reporting (although less than is required for typical long-term programmatic permits), providing us with additional data on eagle use of the project areas and potential impacts of the permitted activities.”

Comments submitted against the rule change note that there has been no long-term study on the effect of today’s wind farms on eagle populations, and the additional harm being allowed to eagles thanks to the administration’s drive to support renewable energy could put eagles back on the endangered species list.

The Interior Department replied that if that happens, energy producers can apply for an “incidental take” permit under the Endangered Species Act to continue their activities.

One of the first species to receive protection under the ESA, the bald eagle was removed from the list in 2007.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Of course, if any of us happen upon a dead bald eagle from one of these bird choppers and pick up a loose feather, we've just committed a felony.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (21)
All Comments   (21)
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up to I saw the receipt which was of $9841, I be certain that...my... best friend actually making money part time from their computer.. there friend brother haz done this for under twenty two months and resently paid the mortgage on their villa and purchased themselves a Mini Cooper. you can try this out......>>>>>WWW.JOBS59.COM
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Good, now let's build some dams and nuclear power plants with the same regs.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Not seeing the problem here. Those birds that run into the blades are stupid. Those that don't will survive to reproduce smarter eaglets. The "problem" is going to solve itself over time.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is "liberal folks business". I tell my children, "We have no truck with liberal folks business". Cain't do nothing but get a conservative man in trouble. Let the liberal folks fight it out.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is an outrage, pure and simple. No one who loves America would do this.

The American Bald Eagle suffers from the same negative “halo effect” with Obama that the bust of Winston Churchill did, because it stands as a uniquely appropriate symbol of everything that distinguishes the American temper from that of all others. And it doesn’t help this magnificent creature that its boldly distinguished head is pure, shining white.

Let’s hope this wasn’t its premature epitaph:

THE EAGLE
By Alfred, Lord Tennyson
FRAGMENT
He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ringed with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.
1851
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
We are living the avian apocolypse. Millions of bats, bald eagles, and other birds have been obliterated by wind turbines and fried by solar panels.

And the animal protectors stand silently by.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ah, but the animal protectors are trying to get personhood status for chimps. Maybe if they succeed in that the chimps can sue the Department to get the rules regarding eagles rescinded.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Bald Eagle flying proud and free, the very symbol of America. No wonder
Obama wants them dead.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
0bama is subsidizing the execution of eagles.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Perhaps it's time for a departmental name change. How does Department of The Inferior sound?
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Some really good Chicago friends of Obama and I can make millions, millions in clean, clean energy if we don't have to worry about some very minor environmental details. How do I apply for a waiver to "take" approximately 650,000 baby seals a year? How about 11,500 pandas? 16,000 koala bears? All the snail darters, every last one?
And, how much will each of these waivers cost and who should I maake the check out to?
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
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