Wind Power to Pay Millions for Killing Eagles and Other Protected Birds

A Portland, Oregon–based wind-farm company, the second to be sentenced to fines for killing hundreds of protected birds in Wyoming with its turbines, will pay $2.5 million in fines, restitution and community service.

PacifiCorp subsidiary PacifiCorp Energy pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Wyoming on December 19 to violating the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act at two wind projects, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) said. Among the dead were 38 golden eagles, and the carcasses—besides the eagles, there were 336 other protected birds—were stashed at the company’s Seven Mile Hill and Glenrock/Rolling Hills wind projects, the justice department said.

Besides the payments, the company has been put on probation for five years, the justice department said in a statement. During that time PacifiCorp Energy must put an environmental compliance plan in place to prevent bird deaths at its four commercial wind projects in Wyoming. In addition, PacifiCorp Energy must apply for Eagle Take Permits that both allow for unavoidable bird deaths and “provide a framework for minimizing and mitigating the deaths of golden eagles at the wind projects,” the DOJ said.

In addition to the golden eagles, hawks, blackbirds, larks, wrens and sparrows had perished in one of the 237 large wind turbines at the two Wyoming facilities between 2009 and 2014, the DOJ said.

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