U.S. Lets California Kill Eagles

No one is quite sure how many eagles are killed every year by wind turbines, but a draft environmental report (pdf) by the federal government proposes for the first time that the “takings” be made legal.with permits at a wind farm in Northern California.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) plan is to issue a golden eagle take permit to Shiloh IV Wind Project, which operates 50 turbines on 3,500 acres in Solano County. In exchange for retrofitting 133 nearby power poles to prevent bird electrocution, and taking other precautionary measures, the company would be allowed to kill five eagles over five years.

California, like the rest of the nation, is struggling with an issue that sets environmentalist against environmentalist as the emergence of wind power, a promising alternative to carbon-based energy sources, poses a growing threat to endangered and fragile species. Utilities are required by state law to get 33% of their electricity from renewable sources by the end of 2020. Around 20% of electricity sold by Pacific Gas & Electric is from renewable energy.

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