(Note: Another one of those “you just can’t make this crap up” moments. This is the current propaganda being touted by the wind industry in the face of incredible backlash against them from environmental groups over the FWS decision to allow them to kill bald eagles for 30 years without penalty.
“Obtaining an eagle take permit is beneficial from both a conservation and business perspective because the permit seeks to protect eagles while also providing the project with a level of regulatory certainty.” WTF?? Really. WTF?? And faux neo-environmentalists will just lap this up. “Yup. It’s GOOD to kill eagles. Great way to save them. Yup.” — DQ)
Matthew Ahrens & Meghan Gabriel — North American WindPower — August 21 2014
On July 31, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) issued the first ever eagle take permit. Although it has been nearly five years after regulations authorizing such permits went into effect, the permit – which was issued to EDF Renewable Energy with respect to the Shiloh IV wind project in Solano County, Calif. – may be a sign of things to come. In its June 26 press release, the FWS stated that this permit will set “a precedent for proactive and collaborative eagle conservation at wind farms in northern California and beyond.” EDF noted that “the process wasn’t always the smoothest, but in the end, we believe that wind turbines and eagles can co-exist, so the journey was worthwhile.”
Obtaining an eagle take permit is beneficial from both a conservation and business perspective because the permit seeks to protect eagles while also providing the project with a level of regulatory certainty.
However, until more are issued, it remains to be seen whether, when and to what extent eagle take permits will become a regular requirement for other wind farms or how much time will be required for the underlying application process.
The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA) prohibits the “taking” of bald and golden eagles, and a violation can result in significant civil and criminal fines and penalties. In 2009, the FWS published BGEPA permit regulations that authorize permits for the limited non-purposeful take of eagles when the take is the result of an otherwise-lawful activity. Under the regulations, wind projects could potentially be eligible for programmatic permits to authorize recurring take that is unavoidable even after the implementation of advanced conservation practices.
Although enforcement for the take of eagles and other protected birds by wind projects has been minimal to date, due to the increased public attention on wind projects’ impacts to wildlife and the enforcement action against Duke Energy last year, prosecution for BGEPA violations may be on the rise. This has generated increased interest regarding the use of eagle take permits as a measure to assist the FWS with protecting eagle populations while providing a level of certainty regarding BGEPA enforcement for projects that could otherwise pose a risk to eagles.
However, until last month, an eagle take permit had never been issued to a project in any industry. Although the FWS encouraged developers to apply for take permits and to prepare eagle conservation plans (ECPs) in accordance with the Eagle Conservation Plan eagle guidance issued by the FWS in May 2013, the chances of obtaining an eagle take permit and the terms of any such permit were far from certain. If you can stand it, continue reading here….