In 1940, legislation was written and passed that prohibits anyone from killing or disturbing any bald or golden eagles without a permit from the Interior Department. Then in 2009, regulations were adopted that enabled the agency to authorize, for the first time, the “take” of eagles for activities that are otherwise lawful but that result in either disturbance or death.

Now in 2012, this past Tuesday, the Interior Department’s Fish and Wildlife Service released a draft environmental assessment that would allow West Butte Wind Power LLC to kill as many as three protected golden eagles over five years if the company fulfills its conservation commitments. The reason for this is because the California-based West Butte Wind Power LLC is proposing to build a 104-megawatt wind energy generation facility on ranch land in Oregon. It will consist of up to 52 wind turbines and electricity generated by the windfarm could power as many as 50,000 homes.

It will be the first eagle “take permit” application to be received and acted on by U.S. Fish and Wildlife under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. (“Take” means to kill, harass or disturb the birds, their nests or their eggs.) However it is not mandatory for wind-power projects to apply for the eagle "take" permits.

This regulatory move is being closely watched by conservationists who are cautiously optimistic about this proposal. In this particular case it is not that threatening to the golden eagles because there are only a small number of golden eagles that are believed to be in and around the area where the wind turbines will be built. The concern comes in because it is feared that the agency will go forward and start issuing these permits for a multitude of golden eagles every year. This would be considered to be a bad use of the policy.

The permit, if it is eventually issued, states that there must be no net loss to breeding populations of golden eagles from the wind farm project. That means for every protected bird permitted killed, developers must contribute to conservation efforts for breeding them. The goal is to maintain stable or increasing populations of eagles protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

The whole eagle permit application process does give conservationists more opportunity to participate in the development process. Conservationists do applaud this company for applying for this permit as setting a precedent since it is not required. In this case public comments of the Wind Butte project will be accepted until Feb. 2. Currently, the American Bird Conservancy, will ask Fish and Wildlife to extend its public comment period an additional 30 days beyond the Feb. 2 deadline.

Although protections for replacing any eagles that are killed by the wind turbines are included in this permit, one would hope that with the advancement in the world toward using more natural sources of power such as wind, that eventually efforts would be made to eliminate any deaths of these majestic birds. Currently there is another type of wind turbine which would prevent bird deaths as birds do not fly into them as is the case with the traditional vertical turbines. This type of wind turbine is known as the Helical Vertical Axis turbine. Another advantage to converting to this type of wind turbine is that it is very quiet which means that it could be used in cities also rather than just in remote rural areas.

Responses to "Federal proposal will allow windpower company to kill golden eagles legally"

  1. Anonymous says:

    Are they crazy?

    I'm beginning to believe those in power in our country are crazies!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I am totally against this Bill there are other things that can be done for the wind project. What about the turkey buzzards the pigeons the sparrows the swallows the crows the Robins the Meadowlarks? Why don't we just totally destroy our nation our world that God Created for us what gives you the right? This is wrong and in so many ways. Those that are in power of our World are destroying it and we as citizens are allowing it.

  3. Anonymous says:

    One day in the NEAR future, children will be asking what a bird or an animal or a tree looks like. And their parents will have to point to a photo to show them. Human beings are selfish and not very intelligent. Instead of downsizing other animals populations and destroying vegetation, we need to downsize our population. As the movie, The Matrix, said, we are like a virus, and we are out to destroy our world through our stupidity and narrowmindedness.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Creator help anyone insane enough to murder one of these majestic, powerful, highly respected and regarded messengers of our spirituality.

    The world has indeed gone mad. I shudder to think what will happen if this terrible disregard for life proceeds as planned.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Power and Money Really, This is nuts....Let them live. To bad that for every wrong a company loose 80% profit....this way thease articles would not exist.

  6. Gima Kwe says:

    What is wrong with society now, humans destroy their own planet! Petition to the President, to stop this horrible legislation. These people who decided this are so removed from our Mother Earth!!!
    It is a sad day today when i read this!! My grandson was given the name of Golden Eagle and i feel that my heart was just ripped out of me! Miigwetch Gima Kwe, From the Three Fires Confederacy of Wikwemikong Unceded Reserve!

  7. Anonymous says:


  8. Anonymous says:

    This very sad how the government can kill and pollute our people and motherearth for there own profit its all money and greed and power they think they can do anything and people need to to stand up and take a stand we all need to unite and do what is rite for our people and Motherearth.
    Things like this does not need to happen at all !!!!!!

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