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  • Interior Looks to Expand Permits for Killing Bald Eagles to Accommodate Wind Energy

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a division of the Interior Department, is considering loosening regulations on the killing of bald eagles, the national bird of the United States, to accommodate the development of wind energy sources.

    A draft regulation first filed in April would allow businesses to apply for 30-year permits allowing them to kill bald eagles in the course of other legal activities. The length of those permits would be a six-fold increase over the five-year window allowed under current law.

    The USFWS explains at FederalRegister.gov:

    We have reviewed applications from proponents of renewable energy projects, such as wind and solar power facilities, for programmatic permits to authorize eagle take that may result from both the construction and ongoing operations of renewable energy projects. During our review, it became evident that the 5-year term limit imposed by the 2009 regulations (see 50 CFR 22.26(h)) needed to be extended to better correspond to the timeframe of renewable energy projects.

    Current law allows permitting for “programmatic” killing of bald eagles, which “is recurring, is not caused solely by indirect effects, and that occurs over the long term or in a location or locations that cannot be specifically identified.”

    The USFWS notes that permits “may authorize lethal take that is incidental to an otherwise lawful activity, such as mortalities caused by collisions with rotating wind turbines.”

    According to the regulation, measures will be taken to attempt to minimize bald eagle mortalities, and additional actions may be authorized if mortalities exceed “anticipated” levels. USFWS began investigating numerous bald eagle deaths associated with wind turbines in early 2012.

    Without the proper permit, the killing of a bald eagle is a federal crime.


    Posted in Ongoing Priorities, Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    71 Responses to Interior Looks to Expand Permits for Killing Bald Eagles to Accommodate Wind Energy

    1. mfb says:

      just to make sure I have this right… it's ok to kill a species for "green energy" (kind of oxy-moronic in this sense, eh?) but the environmentalists would severely restrict one of the northwest region's main industries (logging) to protect another, the spotted owl, which, incidentally, turns out is not threatened so much by logging, but by barred owls. of course, now the ecos have now decided it's a good idea to kill the barred owls to protect the spotted owls but I think logging is still severly restricted. perfectly logical in the parallel universe of the federal bureaucrat.

      • Ratt says:

        Yep, you got it right, and it's ok to kill the XL Keystone Pipeline because of a frigin lizard.

    2. Tim Surdyke says:

      If the animal rights/environmental movements do not come rushing to the rescue of the bald eagle, they will be shown to be huge hypocrites. When this happens, conservatives, the true conservationists, must not let them off the hook.

    3. Trey says:

      How convenient to just change law about killing eagles or for that matter any species just so the green energy companies can exploit an area that inconveniently is inhabited by an eagle. Now if it was a private citizen that wanted to do the same thing on their private property there would no limit to the efforts to block it. Incredible hypocrisy.

      • Isn't that the way this US government works? They do as they want. They are morons to begin with that run this country. Make the rules for our own benefit and maybe money under the table from the greenies.Why should our national bird be destroyed to suit these companies? If these energy companies have so much money then they can put screens around these mills to protect the birds.

      • Linda Seidel says:

        Yes, well you must read the Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein if you want to understand how we no longer have had a truly REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY once in 1953 we invaded Vietnam for their OIL, and then in 1973 the U.S.A. did their dirty deeds in Chile in 1973 by grisly dirty wars on Unionists, Dissidents, and Leftists. And then once again with Bush 1's Gulf War on Saudi Soil in Kwuait, (which pissed off Osama bin Laden and made him our # 1 enemy in 1991.

    4. johnnycab23513 says:

      Excuseme! As usual, they have it bass akwards. You need to move or get rid of the useless wacka-wackas and mirrors to prevent injury or death to the eagles. Remember the Dalifornia snail darter, a useless fish that made a dustbowl out of one of Americas largest sources of food?

    5. Jay Stmeple says:

      Having seen my share of Eagles in the wild, I think Eagles are more beautiful than Windmills… having said that I have only see domestic windmills.

    6. creeper00 says:

      This is nuts! Have you ever seen the size of a bald eagle? Now, have you ever seen a windmill blade rotating? Okay. Now you tell me how that slow-moving blade is going to do anything other than swat a careless eagle on the rump.

      Never mind that eagles aren't totally stupid. Their avoidance systems work well.

      I live on the Mississippi flyway. Trust me…our eagle population is in no danger whatsoever.

      This is another distraction from the disastrous state of the economy. Don't fall for it.

      • SCatharine says:

        I agree – it is nuts! Why give such a pass for WIND manufacturers? IT is crazy.
        The American Bird Conservancy—no fan of the oil companies’ actions—also hammers the feds for hypocritical, selective enforcement. http://www.abcbirds.org/newsandreports/releases/1

        “It is perplexing that similar prosecutions have yet to be brought against the operators of wind farms,” said American Bird Conservancy President George Fenwick. “Every year wind turbines kill hundreds of thousands of birds, including eagles, hawks, and songbirds, but the operators are being allowed to get away with it. It looks like a double standard.”

        The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) estimated in 2009 that about 440,000 birds were being killed by wind turbines, the ABC reports. With an anticipated twelve-fold wind energy build-out by the year 2030, bird mortality is expected to dramatically increase in the coming years, absent significant changes in the way wind farms are sited and operated. Based on studies, one wind farm in California is estimated to have killed more than 2,000 eagles, plus thousands of other birds, yet no prosecution has been initiated for violations of federal laws protecting birds.

      • R.ebel says:

        There are many birds of prey being kiilled in the passes. No one says the baldys are endangered. Pay attention. Everything is slow in Mississippi. Including you.

      • Quotidian says:

        You are completely mistaken. A wind turbine rotor is not slow-moving. That is an illusion based on its great size compared to you and the size of the wind turbine compared to the sky. The rotor tips actually travel in the range of 80-150 miles per hour or more. It depends on the size of the rotor and the wind speed. Far from giving a "careless eagle" a "swat on the rump," the blades obliterate raptors. You want to stand in the middle of the interstate and dodge full speed traffic? That's what the blades are like for raptors.
        It's not legal for me to even possess an eagle feather, yet wind farms, which produce very little usable electricity, can slaughter a bald eagle?

      • Mark says:

        Don't be fooled be the apparent "slow moving blade". Modern wind turbines have blades from 60 to 130 feet long or more, and rotate between 10 and 22 times/second. On a 100 foot blade rotating 15 times/second, the tip will be travelling in excess of 100 miles an hour. Something like twice that for a longer blade rotating faster.

      • Bart says:

        The blades can move at 100 to 200 mph at the tip. The slow rate you think you observe is a trick of perspective.

      • Grits says:

        Idiot. You know nothing about the physics of force of windmills this powerful. Go back to school dummy.

    7. SnoBurd says:

      Take your wind turbines and stick them in the ocean. They consume more energy than they produce. Do not condone nor permit the killing of the national bird, the Bald Eagle.

    8. javadoug says:


    9. MJOBA says:

      We stop contruction of roads, housing projects etc. for a bug or rodent yet we will allow the killing of our National Symbol. Go figure!

      • nmgene says:

        Go down to Palm Springs Calif. Half of the windmills are never running. Most of the investors lost there money on these Million a piece windmills that dont produce worth a damn. They even burn themselves down and the maintenance is outragious. We dont need them and surly dont want them.

      • jannie122 says:

        These projects you mentioned don't have the big money and lobbyist behind them. I consider myself an environmentalist, (somewhat disillusioned now), but you call your housing project "green energy" and you'll get anything!

    10. mugmol says:

      This is a disgrace. Agenda over life of eagles?

    11. Guest says:

      This is what is wrong with this country. Will are considering killing our National Symbol but we halt contruction on roads, housing projects etc if they find a bug or a rodent that might be in danger. Where is the common sense.

    12. Martha Copp says:

      Do not permit killing of Bald Eagles.

    13. Kerry says:

      Love the spin on this one…yup – go ahead – kill them bald eagles…that is exactly what they are saying with this one – give me a break. Do you think we are all idiots or something…Did you read the entire guideline – because I did….

    14. bopeep says:

      I'm think they should come up with a design of windmill that doesn't effect the environment (kill Bald Eagle) The Bald Eagle is supposed to be a national treasure and therefore warrants the time, energy and recourses to develop a new windmill design.

      • jannie122 says:

        I believe there is another design for Industrial Wind Turbine (when I read windmill I think of a 1950's 80 foot thing – not a 400 – 500 foot tall IWT). However, I don't know if it's commercial grade for for home use. I agree a different design would be good, we could still hand out our taxpayer money on these inefficent mandated hunks of junk – give money to overseas wind companies, keep wind lobbyist employed.

    15. Stanley says:

      They order houses torn down to spare spotted owls that were never in danger now the same fools are considering killing off our national bird which is more endangered than those owls, unbelievable! That's this administration for you his hired help at the Dept of the Interior need brain transplants.

    16. Kevin@AWEA says:

      The eagle take permit is not a wholesale license to kill birds. Rather, the intent of the Eagle Permit Rule, established in 2009 under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, is to provide legal protection to an individual or company for the “take” of an eagle that is incidental to and not the purpose of an otherwise lawful action (in the case of wind power, providing a beneficial value to society and the environment through the production of clean energy, which in turn is expected to combat climate change – the single greatest threat to eagle and other wildlife populations). This protection is made available under carefully controlled conditions. In order to obtain an eagle permit, a wind farm developer or owner/operator cannot simply apply for a permit, but must evaluate the proposed wind project holistically to assess the risk to eagles and then take steps through avoidance and minimization to reduce the potential for take. If the threat of eagle mortality continues to exist after those efforts are made, the developer or operator must compensate for fatalities and ensure that a no-net-loss standard (i.e. that eagles' overall numbers are stable or increasing) is being met. This is a very high standard to achieve and puts significant pressure upon wind farm owner/operators to minimize their impacts to the greatest extent practicable. Further, we view these permitting efforts as a perfect example of how the wind industry is being proactive in attempting to identify and minimize impacts to wildlife as a result of development and operation of wind energy facilities. (note, there is no legal requirement that developers obtain a permit, if not otherwise compelled to through some other regulatory process, and thus developers may proceed at their own risk).

      With respect to the proposed amendment to the 2009 Eagle Permit Rule, which would change the maximum permit duration from 5 to 30 years, it is the wind industry position that the 30 year permit duration will provide the certainty needed from a business perspective to allow for investment in a facility with a typical 20-30 year serviceable life, and is entirely consistent with the existing permitting time-frames of the Endangered Species Act. Further, from a resource management standpoint it is a preferable approach as it allows for an evaluation of the total anticipated impacts across the operational life of the facility and provides long-term certainty to the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) as it will give them the ability to hold the permittee to conditions, such as adaptive management mitigation designed to address and offset any potential impacts, long-term.

      The above aside, the wind power industry is stepping up and taking responsibility for its effect on eagles. Industry representatives have been working diligently with the USFWS and conservation community to find better ways to reduce impacts on eagles. Through the American Wind Wildlife Institute (AWWI) and other initiatives, the industry and environmental groups have been funding research designed to better understanding eagle population size and dynamics, how eagles behave around turbines, and how to better avoid and mitigate impacts. Most recently, AWWI sponsored a multi-stakeholder research meeting in November to identify gaps in existing knowledge about eagles and set research priorities. That meeting included representatives of USFWS and groups such as Defenders of Wildlife, The Nature Conservancy, the Sierra Club, and the National Audubon Society.

      • jeannine says:

        That would be a marvelous post IF the world & animal life were in danger via global warming. But since it's a massive hoax and we have no need for this "clean" energy, this new policy will do more to endanger the bald eagle than your farce of global warming or any other alarmist eco project ever will!

        Our world is in more danger from the hypocritical environmentalists than it is from any person who just wants to live their life!

        • Rhun says:

          Wow—watch Fox much?

          • Chip A. says:

            Where does that question come from? It is utterly non sequitur and serves only as shibboleth. You self-identify as someone with nothing at all to contribute except ad hominem, so we have from you non sequitur shibboleth and ad hominem all wrapped up in one little Wow. In real life this is the signal you send to the person you're speaking to smile knowingly and turn away.

          • Dave says:

            Yes I do watch Fox. And if you did, you would know that ALL the climate models are failing.

      • Bobbie says:

        I don't care what it is! Nature shouldn't be compromised for the governments' unconstitutional building agenda. The members and entities of this American government are hypocrites and undisciplined. How low do we have to continue to take this conduct of ignorance???? Energy currently in use has their accidents but this is a direct KILLING!!!!!! The mass of waste it takes in all areas from manufacturing to it's use IS WRONG ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD!

      • Ken Knapp says:

        Why is it "legal" to kill eagles, we little people would be tossed in jail or fined more than we have if we "incidentally" kill an eagle. What ever "legal" justification or spinning of words you are still asking or demanding to kill eagles or what ever bird or bat comes along. why not stick your turbines right next to urban centers or city's were the power is needed, not out here in the rural areas with the least amount of demand. In my area, the Thousand Island in northern N.Y. I have a Nuke plant 30 miles away to the s.west and "our" river,the St. Lawrence has the 2nd largest hydro power dam in the n.east, are region already exports "green " energy to the urban centers. Yet we are told that our environment, our birds, our bats are not worthy to preserve and protect for we are told that we (and nature) must sacrifice so that people in city's can feel good about leaving the light on or maybe a new neon 24 hr sign. Windmills do not encourage conservation at all. Why not take the moneys to be spent and help all home,building or land owners to produce their own energy on small scale? drop us off the grid and keep your bird killing turbines were the power is needed, at our city's and and industrial centers. Is their environment more important? the wind maps show wind potential near these places, any place on the coast along the eastern seaboard (were the population is) has more wind than we do. Money is the driver here, not saving the planet.Do not ask to kill mother nature to save her thats the logic that you use.

      • riggers386 says:

        The single biggest threat to all life on this planet is being suffocated by the bulls***t that these morons trot out. Phrases like "….which in turn is expected to combat climate change…" being a perfect example.
        1) There is no proof that the climate IS changing (anymore than it would have done had man not ever walked upon the planet.)
        2) Even if there were, no conclusive proof that man is contributing to it.
        3) Wind power is expensive, unreliable, and is simply a vast money making opportunity for land owners who don't give a s**t about the environment – despite their protestations to the contrary.

      • DrDave says:

        I've always been looking for someone to whom I could sell my Eiffel tower — cheap. Now I think I've found you. Alternatively, I've got some Florida land — high and dry when the tide's out.

      • eb99 says:

        Spoken like a true wind industry PR flack.

    17. JustDamnMad says:

      To think that this same administration is the one who shut off water to the San Joaquin Valley in California because of a 2" smelt which was getting caught in pumps supplying water to one of the biggest farming areas of our country!!!! This one act by the Department of Interior has caused hundreds of families lost their businesses, destroyed thousands of jobs, and has devastated some of the richest farm ground in the whole country!!!!

      But NOW it will be okay to kill our national bird???? Recently there was a request by American Indian Tribes to receive permission to "harvest" eagles for their feathers which are needed for their rituals. Is the proposed acceptable killing of the Bald Eagle by wind towers just a sneaky way to justify letting the American Indians kill the eagle as well?

      WHAT is wrong with this picture??? We can kill the bird for some energy, but we can't kill a small fish in order to feed literally THOUSANDS?? Apparently the tree-huggers are all for nature UNLESS nature interferes with their agenda . . . . talk about speaking with a forked tongue!!!

      I spend a lot of time really angry with our government, and I assume there are MANY just like me across this country. It is crapola like this that is driving masses of conservatives to their religion and their guns!!!!! The President is right . . . people DO value their freedom of religion and their right to bear arms . . . don't take that fact too lightly, my friend!

    18. mary williams says:

      It seems like we've lost our values when wind energy will cost the lives of bald eagles.

    19. RennyG says:

      THIS IS SICK!!!!!!!!!! Sorry, I am so p—-d I can't say anything.

    20. james in Oregon says:

      Tare the windmills down and stick with the over abundant water supply. Here in oregon BPA Has to pay the windmills to not run . So now the government paid them to put em up and BPA pays them to not use them. And i wonder why my electric bill is so fricken high

    21. @robport says:

      Meanwhile, here in North Dakota, oil companies faced federal criminal charges for a few dead common ducks brought by a US attorney Obama appointed directly from the DNC.

    22. Shelley in MN says:

      Kevin@AWEA Your answer appears to be taken from the Revolution/Rapid Response Team. War Room/AWEA that I saw on http://www.coalitionforsensiblesiting.com There was a 259 pg document of AWEA's plan to discredit any naysayers and the plan to influence Federal & state elected officials. Particularly revealing how AWEA was coaching the Dept. of Interior & USFWS on how they wanted rules written that would not hinder wind development. AWEA is actively trying to keep some animals from being labeled "Endangered" even. I see one place where if a political person does not seem receptive AWEA says this, "Should the member not respond favorably to positive re-enforcement, We will use advertising to educate his or her constituentcy on the issue & the members role as a jobs killing tax hiker." Is AWEA threatening our elected officials?
      This document can be seen at: http://www.coalitionforsensiblesiting.com

    23. Yet another pass for this useless parasitic wind industry.

    24. wayne a larson says:

      industrial wind plants have destroyed so much in just a very short time, blasted mountains, leveled forrests, and they have been allowed to this for something that is never and has never been worth the investment. our government and all involved handing these people money should be strung from a turbine and left for vultures. sorry i believe that people, land,animals are worth more to our future than these wasteful killing machines, and all for jobs, so sad

      • jannie122 says:

        What is ironic is they don't produce jobs — ask someone in a county with IWT how many permanent jobs, not even county officials know for sure. And, how many times is that computer wind operator counted, 1 time or 5 if they operate 5 wind projects (bet they count it as 5 jobs).
        I believe the saddest things I've seen is the tearing down of the mountains, of course now they want to put them in federal managed land one more scenic thing to ruin for these inefficient things.

    25. Fighting mad says:

      Why allow this? If the numbers I've heard are correct windmills only return 30% of the cost to build/erect them during their lifetimes. Good return on our money?????

    26. Ken Knapp says:

      Kill an eagle so people in the urban and industrial centers can feel good about leaving the light on. take all the taxpayer dollars and give us in the rural areas the means to produce energy. Small scale wind and solar do little to the environment. If we all made our own power and shipped out the surplus you can drop us off the grid and keep you bird killing turbines were you need the most power. The East coast urban centers suck up all the power that the nuke plant (30 miles upwind from me) on Lake Ontario and the hydro dam (2nd largest in N.E.) on the St. Lawrence river produce. My home is along The St.Lawrence River,in the rural Thousand Islands of Northern New York, were in the past decade we have seen a bald eagle population become established among several other threatened or endangered birds and bats. We are NOW under assault by multi national corporations with our governments help. Though we already export green energy in our region, they have deemed our region,our environment and our peoples rights as expendable and not worthy enough to protect an preserve. Worse yet us taxpayers are footing a large bill on industrial wind, so we in effect are paying these corporations to kill the eagles. So to the places that want this power I say : Put your industrial turbines on your skyscrapers, on your coast or your industrial centers and kill your own birds to feel good about the light bill. Leave the eagle and and us alone, I will live without power before I would kill an eagle, oh thats right, I would go to jail for that. I forgot I was a "little" people that loves this earth and all her creatures. They want to kill nature to save nature, this only helps the planetary suicide mankind seems to be engaged in, not solving the problem. The stupidity is unreal, the logic is ridiculous. GOD save the eagles and our Country.

    27. David Larsen says:

      The only legal permits right now are for Native American religious reasons. Only one 'take permit' has ever been awarded and that was recenlty granted to the Shoshone Arapahoe in Wyoming. Native Americans can order whole eagles or parts through the National Eagle Repository in Denver. Shut the blades down.

    28. Bob says:

      I pitty the fool that ever does this or proclaims to have done this in my presence because I will shortly there after, be in jail awaiting the prsion bus. This is unreal for it to even be considerd. If this does not indicat to you manchurianised liberals out there what the AMERICAN foundation and structure means to this WANNA BE king from Kenya, then yu are far more lost than anyone previously thought!

    29. Peter of WA says:

      Perhaps the world needs to get rid of a few of these dopey bureaucrats, gee where do they get their brains.
      We have the same problems over here

    30. Jenny Kearns says:

      If one could 'make this stuff up'…. They would be deranged!

    31. JoeP says:

      I just want to be reassured that the snail darters will be ok…

    32. Mike H. in Spokane says:

      Didn’t Hillary have a woman put in jail for sending her a dream catcher that had an eagle feather that was found on the ground?

    33. Russ P says:

      What will be the cost of each permit? By that I mean how much will the Federal Govt. make for the killing of these birds?

    34. pearlcitysenior says:

      Blasphemy!! They take G-d out of the schools and now they want to take the Bald Eagle out of the skies?
      Take away our symbols and they take away our soul.

    35. Guest says:


      • matismf says:

        Be sure to thank their enablers, your fine friends in "Law Enforcement". For just how long do you think this swill would last without their Praetorian Guard?

    36. Gerry N says:

      Creeper do some research. The tip speed of a wind turbine can exceed 500mph. They are also shaped like the blade of a saber and weigh about 400 lbs, So a 1200 plus pound three blade turbine spinning at 500 mph will only swat an Eagle (20#) on the fanny? Stick your head in the path of a spinning wind turbine and experience the swat, please. Have someone video it . Make sure he's wearing rain/ blood/bonechip gear.

      In the words of the famous intellectual, Bugs Bunny: "Wadda Maroon"

    37. cpelkie says:

      Does this mean I can collect eagle feathers now? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eagle_feather_law

    38. @rbeccah says:

      No, no, no, no, NO!

    39. RRS says:

      Examine the underlying issues of the time-lines for subsidies (hence rent-gathering) by the "Wind Industry" as they relate to the time-lines required for their activities to increase the mortality rates among bird life, including protected species.

      Follow the money-chasers.

    40. TheMaj says:

      This is a joke right?????

    41. matismf says:

      Is it time yet to kill this country's "Law Enforcement", for it is THEY who are the enablers for this. NOTHING will change for the better until there are enough dead pig corpses stacked in the streets…

    42. Pingback: Obama to Allow the Killing of Bald Eagles for Renewable Energy | The Lonely Conservative

    43. eaglewatcher says:

      Just because the government deems the bald eagle “endangered” doesn’t mean it is. Leave a small pet unattended around here, might as well call it eagle bait.

    44. jake says:

      Who the Hell wrote this? A 2 year old? Go back to grammar school.

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