The Obama administration is so in the tank for wind energy, they announced yesterday they are revising a federal rule that will now allow wind companies who operate high-speed turbines to “kill or injure up to 4,200 bald eagles a year without penalty.” That’s nearly four times the current legal limit. This new rule would be good for up to three decades, even if it means “killing or injuring thousands of federally protected bald and golden eagles.”
Bald eagles are both the national bird and the national animal of the U.S. and was on the brink of extinction in the late 20th century. In 1995, the bird was removed from the government’s list of endangered species in 1995 and placed on the list of threatened species. In 2007, it was removed from the Endangered and Threatened Wildlife list.
With these new revisions, companies can kill golden eagles without fear of government backlash if precautions are taken to “minimize death or injuries,” such as by “retrofitting power poles to reduce the risk of electrocution.” About 500 bald eagles are killed a year from wind turbines, which literally suck the birds in like a vacuum.
According to Dan Ashe, a Fish and Wildlife service director, the proposal will “provide a path forward” to prevent eagle population loss while speeding up the development of wind turbines intended to ease “global warming.” All of this is part of President Obama’s climate change legacy and clean energy push. Ashe also said the nearly 170-page proposal would protect eagles and “help the country reduce its reliance on fossil fuels” through pollution-free energy sources.
Ashe told the Associated Press that the plan is “a great tool to work with to further conservation of two iconic species.” The proposal also sets goals for eagle management, bird population monitoring, and a basic framework and permitting system that fits within the agency’s eagle management, Ashe added.