Wind Turbines Pose Danger to Golden Eagles
June 13, 2011
Scores of protected golden eagles have been dying each year after colliding with the blades of about 5,000 wind turbines along the ridgelines of the San Francisco Bay Area's Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area, raising troubling questions about the state's push for alternative power sources, says the Los Angeles Times.
The fate of the Bay Area's golden eagles highlights the complex issues facing wildlife authorities, wind turbine companies and regulatory agencies as they promote renewable energy development in the Altamont Pass and across the nation, and adds urgency to efforts to make the technology safer for wildlife.
- Gov. Jerry Brown in April signed into law a mandate that a third of the electricity used in California come from renewable sources, including wind and solar, by 2020.
- The new law is the most aggressive of any state.
- The development and delivery of renewable energy is also one of the highest priorities of the U.S. Interior Department.
- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service authorizes limited incidental mortality and disturbance of eagles at wind facilities, provided the operators take measures to mitigate the losses.
So far, no wind energy company has been prosecuted by federal wildlife authorities in connection with the death of birds protected by the Migratory Bird Act, the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act or the federal Endangered Species Act, says the Times.
Source: Louis Sahagun, "Wind Power Turbines in Altamont Pass Threaten Protected Birds," Los Angeles Times, June 6, 2011.
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