Utilities are looking to extend the length of a special permit they get that allows for incidental golden and bald eagle kills from wind turbines. The US Fish & Wildlife Service has posted a plan on the Federal Register to extend the public comment period about lengthening the permit period from five to 30 years and allowing the permit to be passed from one party to another.
The American Bird Conservancy has said that is a bad idea in a story today by UT San Diego. Too much can happen to eagle populations in that length of time and a 30 year permit does not allow for adaptive rules or protections.
I fully get why a wind-turbine company may want a clear path for 30 years. But that’s too long. The system should have checks and balances. A shorter permit period would allow for modifications if problems arise.
The expansion of wind energy is good, but we don’t let hydro-power go unchecked and grind up tons of fish without recourse. Hydro-facilities have to consider fisheries impacts in order to get a license. Utilities shouldn’t have a 30 year blank check on eagles.
Read more: Proposal for eagle-kill permits.