Osage Nation/Youtube
An eagle gets clipped by a wind turbine blade before plummeting to the ground in this still from an Osage Nation video explaining the harm that huge wind farms do to eagles.

Feds OK Eagle Deaths From Wind Turbines; Osage Object

ICTMN Staff
12/16/13

They are akin to 30-story spinning skyscrapers, their rotors the width of a jet plane’s wingspan and the blade tips moving at up to 170 miles per hour, creating tornado-like vortexes.

Bald and golden eagles, as well as millions of other birds, are sucked in and chopped up annually by wind farms’ whirling turbines, as the Associated Press described it. Wind farms are killing birds, and the government of President Barack Obama has just decreed it to be collateral damage in the quest for clean energy.

With climate change and renewable energy foremost on many peoples’ minds, Obama has said that wind energy companies will be allowed to kill (accidentally) a certain number of eagles and other birds under 30-year permits. In return the companies must take measures to prevent such deaths and will be required to track and report the number of birds that are killed in their turbines, the AP reported on December 6.

Permits will last 30 years and be reviewed every five years, the U.S. Department of the Interior said in its statement announcing the rules change. It builds on a permitting program begun in 2009 under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, the department said.

While the measure’s stated purpose is to acknowledge that some bird deaths are inevitable, environmental stewards hold that such allowances give companies too much leeway. The Osage Tribe is already battling an application for just such a permit by Wind Capital Group. The company is seeking to build a 94-turbine wind farm and estimates it would kill up to 120 eagles annually during the life of the project.

RELATED: Osage Nation Objects to Wind-Turbine Company’s Potentially Precedent-Setting Request to Kill Bald Eagles

The Osage reacted strongly to Obama’s rule change announcement and said the President should know better.

"President Obama knows how important eagle feathers are to us: He was adopted into the Crow Nation and was adorned with a full war bonnet containing eagle feathers from head to toe," said Assistant Principal Chief Scott N. Bighorse, according to the AP.

The Audubon Society said it would challenge the new ruling, which was handed down the by U.S. Department of the Interior.

“Instead of balancing the need for conservation and renewable energy, Interior wrote the wind industry a blank check,” said David Yarnold, president and CEO of the Audubon Society, in a statement. “It’s outrageous that the government is sanctioning the killing of America’s symbol, the bald eagle.”

The nation’s highest priority should on finding “reasonable, thoughtful partners to wean America off fossil fuels,” Yarnold said. “We have no choice but to challenge this decision, and all options are on the table.”

Duke Energy Corp. pleaded guilty last month and was fined $1 million last month for killing eagles with its wind turbines.

RELATED: Eagle-Killing Wind Turbine Company Fined $1 Million

Meanwhile, as of December 11, 15 companies had applied for permits, not just wind power enterprises but also building companies and the military, said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services spokesperson Chris Tollefson to the Journal Record. The Fish and Wildlife Service is in the middle of a 60-day public-comment period that ends on February 3 on environmental considerations for the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre wind projects in Wyoming. Two public hearings are scheduled, the first one on December 16 in Rawlins, Wyoming and the second on December 17 in Saratoga, Wyoming, according to Greenwire. The project itself was approved last year, Greenwire reported. The facility “proposes to string together as many as 1,000 turbines across more than 220,000 acres of BLM and ranch lands,” Greenwire said. The environmental review is to determine such a project’s effect on golden eagles.

Below, the Osage Nation explains the effect of wind turbines on migrating eagles. 

Osage wind opposition / eagle kills

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Jim Wiegand's picture
Jim Wiegand
Submitted by Jim Wiegand on
A recent AP article about eagles and the wind industry reads as follows: "Under pressure from the wind-power industry, the Obama administration said Friday it will allow companies to kill or injure eagles without the fear of prosecution for up to three decades. The new rule is designed to address environmental consequences that stand in the way of the nation's wind energy rush: the dozens of bald and golden eagles killed each year by the giant, spinning blades of wind turbines. An investigation by the Associated Press earlier this year documented the illegal killing of eagles around wind farms, the Obama administration's reluctance to prosecute such cases and its willingness to help keep the scope of the eagle deaths secret. President Obama championed this pollution - free energy, nearly doubling America's wind power in his first term. The new rule will provide legal protection for the life span of wind farms if companies obtain permits and make efforts to avoid killing protected birds. Conservation groups said the decision by the Interior Department sanctions the killing of an American icon." Here is the Truth..........The new rules are designed to side step or rig the process so the wind industry is free from any environmental consequences that stand in the way of the wind industry's gold rush. Despite what the President claims these turbines will not be saving this planet from climate change because wind turbine generated energy does not even cover the world's annual increase in energy consumption and increases from other sources. State mandates for renewable energy are all absurd because this lousy source of energy will never catch up to 20, 25, or even 33%. So despite the propaganda and hype of being the fastest growing energy segment, these turbines are losing ground and enough can not be installed. It is time that our leaders stopped lying to the public about all this and stopped wasting precious taxpayer dollars on this highly destructive non-solution. At this time, no other energy source is as destructive and every other energy source is a better choice better than wind energy. These turbines have only been around about 3 decades and in this short amount of time no other energy source is even close to driving species to extinction as quickly as these wind turbines. People had better wake up because all this goes far deeper than you can imagine. It won't stop with the killing of eagles and stealing tax dollars.

Jim Wiegand's picture
Jim Wiegand
Submitted by Jim Wiegand on
A recent AP article about eagles and the wind industry reads as follows: "Under pressure from the wind-power industry, the Obama administration said Friday it will allow companies to kill or injure eagles without the fear of prosecution for up to three decades. The new rule is designed to address environmental consequences that stand in the way of the nation's wind energy rush: the dozens of bald and golden eagles killed each year by the giant, spinning blades of wind turbines. An investigation by the Associated Press earlier this year documented the illegal killing of eagles around wind farms, the Obama administration's reluctance to prosecute such cases and its willingness to help keep the scope of the eagle deaths secret. President Obama championed this pollution - free energy, nearly doubling America's wind power in his first term. The new rule will provide legal protection for the life span of wind farms if companies obtain permits and make efforts to avoid killing protected birds. Conservation groups said the decision by the Interior Department sanctions the killing of an American icon." Here is the Truth..........The new rules are designed to side step or rig the process so the wind industry is free from any environmental consequences that stand in the way of the wind industry's gold rush. Despite what the President claims these turbines will not be saving this planet from climate change because wind turbine generated energy does not even cover the world's annual increase in energy consumption and increases from other sources. State mandates for renewable energy are all absurd because this lousy source of energy will never catch up to 20, 25, or even 33%. So despite the propaganda and hype of being the fastest growing energy segment, these turbines are losing ground and enough can not be installed. It is time that our leaders stopped lying to the public about all this and stopped wasting precious taxpayer dollars on this highly destructive non-solution. At this time, no other energy source is as destructive and every other energy source is a better choice better than wind energy. These turbines have only been around about 3 decades and in this short amount of time no other energy source is even close to driving species to extinction as quickly as these wind turbines. People had better wake up because all this goes far deeper than you can imagine. It won't stop with the killing of eagles and stealing tax dollars.

rockymissouri's picture
rockymissouri
Submitted by rockymissouri on
Is there a way to place the turbines so they will not interfere with the migration routes....?
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