Wind energy company pleads guilty to eagle deaths

havørn_hakket eagleWashington Times
WASHINGTON — The government for the first time has enforced environmental laws protecting birds against wind energy facilities, winning a $1 million settlement from a power company that pleaded guilty to killing 14 eagles and 149 other birds at two Wyoming wind farms.

The Obama administration has championed pollution-free wind power and used the same law against oil companies and power companies for drowning and electrocuting birds. The case against Duke Energy Corp. and its renewable energy arm was the first prosecuted under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act against a wind energy company.

“In this plea agreement, Duke Energy Renewables acknowledges that it constructed these wind projects in a manner it knew beforehand would likely result in avian deaths,” Robert G. Dreher, acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, said in a statement Friday.

An investigation by The Associated Press in May revealed dozens of eagle deaths from wind energy facilities, including at Duke’s Top of the World farm outside Casper, Wyo., the deadliest for eagles of 15 such facilities that Duke operates nationwide. The other wind farm included in the settlement, Campbell Hill, is northwest of Casper. Read article

4 thoughts on “Wind energy company pleads guilty to eagle deaths

  1. These people killing Eagles and birds and I use the word people lightly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! scum of the earth!! there is NO reason why this had to happen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! – they should be given the maximum penalty by law and MORE – the taking down of an active eagles nest happened out in Selkirk!!! these wind turbines must be stopped!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Lyn

  2. I read this paragraph twice – no – actually 10 times.
    ‘[excerpt] “No form of energy generation, or human activity for that matter, is completely free of impacts and wind energy is no exception,” said the American Wind Energy Association in a statement, adding that air pollution-free wind power helps what experts say is the greatest threat to wildlife and their habitats — global warming.

    This is nice and cozy- don’t you think?
    Duke worth 52Billion – parts with 1Million –
    and celebrates;
    ‘permit of words of encouragement’ –
    aka ‘take permit’

    The wind farms in Friday’s settlement came on line before the Obama administration drafted voluntary guidelines encouraging wind energy companies to work with the Fish and Wildlife Service to avoid locations that would impact wildlife. Companies that choose to cooperate get rewarded, because prosecutors take it into consideration before pursuing prosecution.’

    ‘[excerpt] The company will also have to apply for an eagle take permit, and draft a plan to reduce eagle and bird deaths at its four wind farms in Wyoming.

    Duke’s $1 million will be divided. The fine — $400,000 — will go into a wetlands conservation fund. The state of Wyoming gets $100,000. The remainder will be used to purchase land or easements to protect golden eagle habitat and for projects aimed at minimizing interactions between eagles and wind turbines in Wyoming.’–politics.html

    Business as usual – who should we thank?

  3. What kind of human being can see the body of an eagle, killed by their wind turbine, then try to pass off a bunch of BS so they can kill more eagles? Beyond heartless all the way to psychopathic.

  4. Apologies if already posted, but, prodded by the Auditor General, Environment Canada is reviewing its approach to incidental take (prohibited under the Migratory Birds Regulations) and other matters. Could be helpful to follow EnvCan’s efforts and comment on any shortcomings to Auditor General and Environment Canada. If still unsatisfied, citizens can request (nonbinding, but embarrassing) review of Canadian execution of Migratory Bird Treaty (which earned $1 million fine for US wind farm) under NAFTA environmental treaty (

    From Bird Studies Canada newsletter (15 Nov 2013):

    Environment Commissioner: Protect Canada’s Natural Heritage

    5 November 2013 – Despite efforts over decades and progress in some areas, the Canadian government has not met key legislative responsibilities, deadlines, and commitments to protect nature and advance sustainable development, according to results of a performance audit conducted by the Office of the Auditor General of Canada and tabled in Parliament on November 5. The 2013 Fall Report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development ( urges concerted efforts and innovative approaches to protect species and critical habitat, and break the pattern of unfulfilled commitments and responsibilities.

    Chapter 3* of the report, “Conservation of Migratory Birds” (, concludes that although Environment Canada’s efforts to restore waterfowl populations are working, conservation planning and results measurement are inadequate for other bird groups (landbirds, shorebirds, and waterbirds). The report also encourages Environment Canada to finalize its Bird Conservation Region Strategies and develop an action plan to support implementation of each strategy. Environment Canada agrees with the Commissioner’s findings; the Department’s detailed responses follow each recommendation throughout the chapter.

    * Excerpt:
    Effectiveness of actions to avoid accidental destruction of birds needs to be assessed
    3.43 Under the Migratory Birds Regulations, it is forbidden to disturb, destroy, or take nests, eggs, and migratory birds except under the authority of a permit. There are no regulations on issuing permits for industrial activities. However, many nests, eggs, and birds are accidentally destroyed at industrial sites, in urban environments, and by resource exploitation activities (such as forestry, mining, and agriculture). This accidental destruction is called incidental take and is prohibited under the Migratory Birds Regulations.

    3.44 Environment Canada’s primary tool for reducing incidental take is the information it provides (known as avoidance guidelines) on topics such as the different breeding seasons of birds in Canada and the presence of nests. This information is meant to increase public awareness so that individuals and industries can avoid accidentally destroying birds, eggs, and nests.

    3.45 In 2007, the Department initiated a process to develop regulations that would allow some incidental take while maintaining healthy bird populations. The Department also committed to developing these regulations in the 2010 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy. Later in 2010, the Department announced that it was no longer taking a regulatory approach. In its place, the Department has been promoting the use of “beneficial management practices” in addition to its avoidance guidelines to prevent incidental take.

    3.46 Environment Canada encourages stakeholders, such as industrial sectors, to develop their own beneficial management practices for conserving bird populations and their habitat. The Department drafted a guide in 2011 to help industry develop practices beneficial to birds, but the guide has not yet been approved. The Department has, however, taken the position that it does not “have the authority to prescribe or recognize specific best management practices for specific activities.” In other words, Environment Canada will not validate an industry’s practices.

    3.47 In response to an environmental petition received by the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development in 2011, the Minister of the Environment stated that in 2012, “Environment Canada will start implementing a framework to support the development of beneficial management practices, as well as begin developing the framework to assess results achieved by their implementation by stakeholders against conservation priorities” (Petition no. 311). We found that this framework has not yet been completed. Once the Department has developed an approach to incidental take, it needs to assess the results of this approach against its established conservation priorities.

    3.48 Recommendation. Environment Canada should define how it will support and promote the development of management practices that are beneficial to birds. It should assess the effectiveness of its actions to promote beneficial management practices and its guidance on avoiding incidental take on bird conservation.

    The Department’s response. Agreed. Environment Canada will support the development and implementation of beneficial management practices by providing guidance to industrial sectors that explains the Bird Conservation Region Strategies, which identify the priority species and priority threats to be addressed in each region. Environment Canada will assess its actions to promote adoption of beneficial management practices and avoidance guidelines. Development of beneficial management practices should be undertaken by those best placed to do so.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *