Thursday, June 26, 2014

Feds nix eagle penalties for California wind farm

Fresno Bee reports:
A California wind farm will become the first in the nation to avoid prosecution if eagles are injured or die when they run into the giant turning blades, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Thursday.

The Shiloh IV Wind Project LLC, 60 miles east of San Francisco, will receive a special permit allowing up to five golden eagles to be accidentally killed, harmed or disturbed over five years. Previously, such a violation could potentially draw criminal charges and discourage private investment in wind farms known for catching birds in their rotors.

Agency Director Daniel Ashe said the permit encourages development of renewable energy while requiring the wind company to take steps to protect eagles from turbines and power lines. The move will help California reach its goal of producing one-third of its energy from renewable sources by 2020, he said.

"We can't solve the problem of eagle mortality at wind farms overnight," Ashe said in a statement. "But this commonsense solution merits the support of all who advocate for the long-term conservation of eagles."

Sacrifices have to be made for rent-seeking and unprofitable forms of energy.