Bird Group Sues Feds Over Wind Turbine Deaths

posted on July 1, 2014
dogs_ah2015_fs.jpg (42)

By 2030, the U.S. government wants 20-percent of the country's energy demands to be met by wind energy. The rush to meet this goal—which we're a heck of a long way from achieving—has exposed much hypocrisy.

Here's the biggest contradiction: While the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) recently suggested that lead ammo is affecting eagle populations (see the NSSF's rebuttal here), the government apparently has no problem killing eagles in the name of wind power. On December 9, 2013, the Department of the Interior (DOI) approved a regulation to provide wind companies with 30-year permits to kill eagles, including bald eagles, without prosecution by the federal government.

According to the USFWS' own data, wind turbines kill an estimated 67 golden eagles at one San Francisco wind facility alone. Nobody denies that wind turbines kill birds of prey (they also likely impact upland birds and waterfowl); but the fact the government would actually sanction killing eagles defies logic.

So, in April the American Bird Conservancy filed a lawsuit.

“Eagles are among our nation’s most iconic and cherished birds. They do not have to be sacrificed for the next 30 years for the sake of unconstrained wind energy,” said Dr. Michael Hutchins, National Coordinator of ABC’s Bird Smart Wind Energy Program. "Giving wind companies a 30-year pass to kill Bald and Golden Eagles without knowing how it might affect their populations is a reckless and irresponsible gamble that millions of Americans are unwilling to take."

I couldn't agree more. The original proposal was for five-year permits—far more reasonable given we don't know what the full impact of the turbines will be.

In response to the initial proposal, the USFWS's statement to the Federal Register read: "[a permit of any longer than five years] would be incompatible with the preservation of the Bald or Golden Eagle."

The government has left no doubt that wind energy is coming. One day it may even prove a good renewable energy source. But are we comfortable allowing its rapid implementation to outpace our knowledge of its full impact?


S&W 350 Lifestyle
S&W 350 Lifestyle

Smith & Wesson Introduces Model 350

Smith & Wesson has introduced the Model 350, the company's first production revolver chambered in the powerful straight-walled 350 Legend.

Members' Best 2022

Be it a bucket list hunt in a land of giants, an anniversary escape with a loved one, a quick scouting trip turned big-buck showdown or the culmination of a trophy slam, American Hunter readers searched for and found opportunity near and far this past year.

First Look: Buck Bourbon Rack House Blind

Veil Camo has announced the integration of its Wideland Camo pattern with the new Buck Bourbon Rack House 300+ One Way Mesh hunting blind.

First Look: Canvas Cutter Dominator 2.0 Bedroll

The Dominator 2.0 Bedroll is Canvas Cutter’s flagship outdoors sleep solution, designed for any backpacking, hunting, fishing, or camping adventure.

Florida Expands Gator-Hunting Hours and Equipment

Gargantuan gators beware! Florida's 2022 hunting season started on Monday, 8/15 with brand new rules regarding hunting hours and acceptable equipment.

First Look: Alps OutdoorZ Elite Backcountry Pack System

Alps OutdoorZ has announced a new frame and pack system developed for backcountry hunters: the ultralight, modular Elite frame and pack bags.


Get the best of American Hunter delivered to your inbox.