The Golden Eagle in peril in the US

By Mark Duchamp, Jim Wiegand, Canada Free Press
Save the Eagles International (STEI) is hereby issuing a biodiversity warning concerning the United States. Contrary to dubious studies financed and controlled by vested interests, the population of golden eagles in the Western States is on the decline. Wind farms are the main cause. The issuing of licenses to kill will accelerate the decline towards extinction.  At the large wind farm of Altamont Pass, California, 116 golden eagles (GE) have been reported to be killed by turbine blades yearly. This was established by a comprehensive study realized by Dr Smallwood in 2004 (1). Extrapolating to the 25 years of existence of the wind farm, this would represent a toll of about 2,900 golden eagles. Adding to this the mortality at other wind farms in the Western United States (2), this is clearly unsustainable.

Indeed, recent studies have reported an apparent decline of the GE population at two different locations in California (3), and the number of active nests in the vicinity of Altamont Pass has declined considerably (4).

The Altamont Pass wind farm should have been closed down and decommissioned a long time ago. But pork-barrel politics have kept it in operation, and now the authorities are minded to authorize its continuation for another 25 years through repowering. Old wind turbines are to be replaced by much bigger ones, which are reported to kill twice as many eagles per megawatt (5). There will be less of them, but the total area swept by their blades will be much larger. So the carnage of eagles is likely to increase, notwithstanding biased studies pretending fewer birds will die. All other things being equal, if as reported a) the new turbines kill twice as many eagles per MW, and b) the wind farm’s rated capacity is also to be doubled, “repowered” Altamont could be killing 4 times as many golden eagles as with the old turbines.

Another aberration is the willingness of the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to issue “take permits” (licenses to kill) for golden eagles at new wind farms, for example in Oregon (6) and Wyoming (7). Save the Eagles International firmly opposes this perversion, which has illegally but effectively changed the mission of FWS from preserving biodiversity to that of catering to the interests of an industry, an ineffective and ruinous one to boot.

STEI solemnly warns the Western States that biologically-blind policies will cause the extinction of the Golden Eagle, the California Condor, and other species of raptors. Considering that the Eastern and Central States are not acting any better, it is biodiversity in the whole of the contiguous 48 States which is in peril, including other species such as the Whooping Crane. No amount of bad science financed by the wind industry and government agencies has been able to convince honest conservationists that wind farms don’t harm bird and bat populations.

Mark Duchamp
tel: +34 693 643 736

Jim Wiegand
Vice President, United States,

8 thoughts on “The Golden Eagle in peril in the US

    • And ‘wind’ gets a pass by – applying for a permit (you know the rest).

      On August 13, ExxonMobil pled guilty in federal court to charges that it killed 85 birds – all of which were protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). The company agreed to pay $600,000 in fines and fees for the bird kills, which occurred after the animals came in contact with hydrocarbons in uncovered tanks and waste water facilities on company properties located in five western states.

      The ExxonMobil prosecution is the latest of hundreds of cases that federal officials have brought against oil and gas companies over the last two decades for violations of the MBTA, a statute on the books since 1918.

  1. US Fish and Wildlife Service
    Draft Environmental Assessment to Permit Take as Provided Under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act for the West Butte Wind Project, Oregon
    The applicant (West Butte Wind Power LLC) requests a permit for the legal take of “1 to 2 Golden Eagles over the 20 to 30 year life of the project.”
    The Service conducted its own Golden Eagle Fatality Prediction for the WBWP, which predicted the take of 0-17 eagles over the project’s 20- to 30-year life.

    Condor Controversy Puts Google, Other Wind Investors In Cross-Hairs
    …creates a great deal of financial and legal uncertainty for wind developers, operators, financiers and utilities.

    In other words, will wind farm owners and operators be held criminally liable if a turbine’s spinning blades kill a condor? Will banks and other investors shy away from financing wind projects for fear that the unauthorized “incidental take”

  2. Just like how Wolfe island can be “down” slightly in cull figures for the year. Is the objective to make sure no birds exist so there can be no reported deaths?

  3. Sadly, Sick Turbines, I`m quite sure Wicked Windies, wouldn`t give a hoot if they killed every last living creature in the area, so long as they make big truckloads, of our hard earned tax dollars, for detroying our province for several generations, if not forever and a day.
    And it`ll save them $$, because they`ll no longer need two men with trucks going around scooping up carcasses quickly before anyone gets a true count on the casualties.

    • Sadly,
      the Ontario economy is in a ‘roadside ditch’ – along with the birds!

      Any day now – I suspect the McGuinty Liberals will announce –
      ‘We have made progress – this is a very positive step’

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