Eagle concerns ‘halt US wind farms’

By Jason Dearen and Noaki Schwartz
Press Association

Fears that whirling wind turbines could slaughter protected golden eagles have halted progress on a key piece of the US federal government’s push to increase renewable energy on public lands, stalling plans for billions of dollars in wind farm developments.

The US Bureau of Land Management suspended issuing wind permits on public land indefinitely this summer after wildlife officials invoked a decades-old law for protecting eagles, according to reports.

The restriction has hit efforts to “fast-track” approvals for four of the seven most promising wind energy proposals in the nation, including all three in California.

Now, these and other projects appear unlikely to make the year-end deadline to potentially qualify for hundreds of millions of dollars in stimulus funds. If extensions aren’t granted in the lame duck session of Congress, the future of many of these plans could be in doubt.

“(Companies) are waiting to know the criteria to get a permit,” said Larry LaPre, a wildlife biologist for BLM’s California desert district, of the companies hoping federal agencies will begin permitting again soon. Mr LaPre said he expects it to be “at least a year or longer” before permitting resumes.

Golden eagles are the latest roadblock to establishing wind farms on federally owned land, already an expensive process plagued by years of bureaucratic delay. The projects also have been untracked by other wildlife issues, a sluggish economy and objections by defence and aviation authorities that wind turbines interfere with the country’s aged radar system.

The delays are occurring despite a target set by Congress in 2005 that directed the Interior Department to approve about 5 million homes worth of renewable energy on public lands by 2015. Since then, only two of the more than 250 currently proposed wind projects have been approved and neither has been built, records and interviews show.

The four fast-track projects in jeopardy of losing stimulus funds due to eagle issues would alone generate about 416 megawatts of clean energy, enough to power roughly a half million US homes during peak usage.

There are presently 28 wind farms operating on public lands, which make up about 13 percent of the US land surface, although records show that more than 800 have been proposed in recent decades.

The vast majority of public lands regulated by the BLM are in western states, where all current onshore wind farms approved or in planning stages will be located. Offshore wind farms, like those proposed off the New England coast, are regulated by a different federal agency.

13 thoughts on “Eagle concerns ‘halt US wind farms’

  1. A little late isn’t it?…..could there be more to this?……..like the drying up of funding for the Green Scam? ………….then the Bureau looks like a hero for placing a moratorium on these developments because of Eagles?…………………bet there wouldn’t be a moratorium if the country was “flushed” with cash for Green Investment!

  2. “…invoked a decades-old law…”

    Does Ontario have such a law? Or has the GEA trumped all laws?

  3. I would add that this bodes well and is a necessary step in raising consciousness that non-human creatures must be protected at all cost from humans, by humans.

  4. Add vicarious trauma due to slaughter of birds and bats to the horrific damage from IWTs. I have horrible dreams about exhausted birds and wind turbines – very disturbing to inner peace.

  5. Have any dead bird counts from wind turbines been made in the Holiday Beach area?

  6. How embarrassing for the McGuinty Liberals…being upstaged by the Americans on the wildlife protection front.

  7. Hello. I live in rural Tehachapi, CA and already live with 250 turbines. Now an investment company intends to put 17 400+ foot towers on the floor about 1/2 mile from our homes.

    Turbines are loud and penetrating to the body. Our community lives with an outdoor factory or like being in a vaccum cleaner while it is running. The strobe ruins the night sky and if there are clouds there is constant view of lightening like like bouncing off of the cloud. Our Federal Aviation requires red strobes as well that are higher than the highest blade tip. They cause a muddy magenta glow in the skies. The ridges of Mojave, CA have hundreds of them.

    Wildlife. There will be none. I have lived at the home for 6 years and there are only a few ravens and sparrows. No deer, bear, bobcats, 1 owl. To heck with aethetics, the habitats will be completely ruined. There are a number of new studies and here are a few:

    This site offers great information:
    http://www.smartplanet.com/business/blog/intelligent-energy/air-force-takes-aim-at-oregon-wind-farm/861/?tag=content;col1
    http://jackbetts.blogspot.com/2009/07/readers-recall-windmill-noise-over.html
    http://www.sonorannews.com/archives/2010/101013/letters2e.html#letter5
    http://www.rochesterconservative.com/blog/wind-turbines-whip-up-health-fears/

  8. “The four fast-track projects in jeopardy of losing stimulus funds due to eagle issues would alone generate about 416 megawatts of clean energy, enough to power roughly a half million US homes during peak usage.”

    During “peak usage”

    HAW, HAW, HAW, CHORTLE, CHOKE, CHOKE, COUGH GAG!

    IDIOTS!

    B.B.W.

  9. I have to admit when a red tailed hawk killed our beloved cat “smudge” I ran for our rifle. I wanted to shoot the hawk. But then I realized that the hawk has to make a living too. It was very sad. When I found Smudge’s limp and gleaned body, I was proud that he managed to swipe a huge feather with his hind leg. He must have put up a good fight! Still though, when I see a hawk circling above I do shout obscenities at it! ie. “You SOB McGuinty parasite! Makes me feel better!

  10. The U.S. has a separate Endangered Species Act (ESA) which the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld several times and thus enforced the act. Makes wind turbine developers nervous if any endangered species are in the area of turbine development.

    As far as I know Canada does not have a separate ESA.

  11. All life is sacred…..no matter how far up or down the “food chain” a species exists in……………EXCEPT species called “politicians, Green Investors, Wind Developers and Eco-Idiots”

  12. How about we flood McGuinty’s office with voodoo dolls in his likeness. What a great Christmas present for him. Anybody know where we can get them made by the 100 thousand…Cheap???

Comments are closed.