Bald eagles are a protected species. Killing them is a crime, and criminal prosecutions are not rare. But it’s a different story if you are a wind energy company. The Obama administration has just released a final rule that will allow 4,200 bald eagles to be killed by wind turbines a year without penalty:
Under the new rule, wind companies and other power providers will not face a penalty if they kill or injure up to 4,200 bald eagles, nearly four times the current limit.
That limit is annual.
Deaths of the more rare golden eagles would be allowed without penalty so long as companies minimize losses by taking steps such as retrofitting power poles to reduce the risk of electrocution.
How many eagles are currently being killed by wind turbines? The federal government won’t say:
Reporting of eagle mortality is voluntary, and the Interior Department refuses to release the information.
The AP says that the bald eagle population is around 143,000, so killing 4,200 with wind turbines would eliminate about 3% of the population annually.
One of the worst things about both wind energy and solar energy is that they are bad for the environment. Killing eagles isn’t the worst environmental impact of wind turbines, but it is on the list.