United States must safeguard eagles: Letter

December 19, 2013 by  
Filed under Solar Energy Tips

As a raptor biologist of 24 years, I am disappointed that the Depart­ment of Interior expanded the permit’s length from five to 30 years for the inci­dental killing of bald and golden eagles at wind farms, in order to foster long­term investment in wind energy.

We must balance the need to con­serve eagles and foster renewable energy. This can be accomplished by carefully selecting wind farm sites, managing facilities to reduce impacts to wildlife and requiring mitigation for eagle deaths.


I know from my work that eagles are particularly susceptible to wind farm mortality. Eagles often live in the windy places where wind farms are sited. Wind turbine blade tips spin so rapidly that collisions are inevitable. And eagle wingspans make them vulnerable to electro­cution on associated power lines. Finally, low population densities and reproductive rates make eagle popu­lations slow to recover. Thus, poorly sited wind farms could decimate local eagle populations quickly, mak­ing a 30-year permit inappropriate.

I urge the Interior Department to reverse this decision and work with conservation groups and the wind industry to come up with a solution that safeguards America’s eagles.

Jennifer Coulson

President Orleans Audubon Society

New Orleans

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