Friday, September 27, 2013

California Wind Power Plant Plans Eagle Kills

A few weeks ago I reported that the Fish and Wildlife Service was preparing to grant wind power generation plants permits to kill Bald and Golden Eagles in the course of operation, a courtesy not granted to other, less politically correct power sources.
The BP oil company was fined $100 million for killing and harming migratory birds during the 2010 Gulf oil spill. And PacifiCorp, which operates coal plants in Wyoming, paid more than $10.5 million in 2009 for electrocuting 232 eagles along power lines and at its substations.

But PacifiCorp also operates wind farms in the state, where at least 20 eagles have been found dead in recent years, according to corporate surveys submitted to the federal government and obtained by The Associated Press. They’ve neither been fined nor prosecuted.
Now, the first wind power plant has followed up, and requested permits to kill up to five eagles over a five year period without suffering any fines:
A Solano County, Calif., wind farm would be the first renewable energy project in the nation allowed to kill eagles under a federal plan, a U.S. agency said.

Under the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposal, outlined in a draft environmental report released Thursday, the Shiloh IV Wind Project would be issued a golden eagle take permit for its 3,500-acre plant in the Montezuma Hills, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The plan would allow the company's 50 wind turbines to kill as many as five golden eagles in a five-year period in exchange for measures to protect the birds, including retrofitting 133 power poles to prevent electrocutions, the Chronicle said.

"The bottom line is a permit will help preserve eagles," said Scott Flaherty, the deputy assistant regional director of external affairs for the Fish and Wildlife Service. "I think it really does set a precedent. It shows the service can work with wind energy companies ... and ensure that we conserve eagles and other wildlife."

The report, currently in a 45-day public comment period, analyzed four alternatives, including the possibility of denying the permit application, the Chronicle said.

The Chronicle said about eight eagles a year are killed at the four Shiloh plants.
Some pigs are just a little more equal than other pigs.

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