New Federal Rule on Eagles and Wind Turbines Sets False Choice on Conservation

WASHINGTON (December 6, 2013)--The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced a new rule that would allow wind farms to kill bald eagles and golden eagles for 30 years, up from the current five-year period. The FWS rejected recommendations from the wind industry and conservation groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, that would have better protected eagles while allowing much-needed wind energy projects to go forward. Frances Beinecke, president of NRDC, issued the following statement:

"This rule could lead to many unnecessary deaths of eagles. And that's a wrong-headed approach. We can, and must, protect wildlife as we promote clean, renewable energy. The Fish and Wildlife Service missed an opportunity to issue a rule that would do just that. This rule sets up a false choice that we intend to fight to reverse."

Background: As the wind energy industry has grown, an increasing number of bald and golden eagles have been struck by wind turbine blades. More research is needed to determine the scope of the problem, the impact of the deaths on eagle populations, and to find effective measures to limit eagle fatalities. Conservationists and the wind industry made proposals that would have facilitated this needed research and promoted science-based solutions, but FWS chose to prioritize longer permits over conserving eagles.