You can apply for a federal permit to kill a bunch of eagles

You read that right.

Looks like it is possible to get permission from the feds to set up an operation that expects to kill several eagles every year for the next 3 decades. Thirty years.

What do you have to do to get blessing to file such a permit?

Just set up a wind farm.

You know, those cuddly wind turbines you see covering dozens of acres of land off the I-10 on the drive out towards Palm Springs from the L.A. area. You know, the ones that are rarely ever turning?

This one, in Goodhue County, Minnesota apparently is getting close to having approval from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to ‘take’ eagles (‘taking’ is the technical term for killing animals). There are a number of additional hurdles to clear, but seems to me this is the biggest – getting the okay to move forward with a permit to off a few eagles annually.

The StarTribune describes the situation in their article; Feds decide Goodhue County wind project’s eagle toll is ok.

Here is the worst case scenario, as mentioned in the article:

The 48-turbine project would kill at most eight to 15 eagles a year, a number that would not harm the local population, federal officials said in a letter to state regulators.

To put that in perspective, here is the estimated population of eagles in the area:

Tony Sullins, field supervisor for the regional Fish and Wildlife office, said in the letter that there are about 418 eagles around the project’s 20-square-mile footprint. Earlier documents said the area has about 10 active nests, and the project’s opponents say they have recently identified two more. In addition, a few golden eagles have been seen in the area.

Here is the company’s estimate of expected losses:

The risk to golden eagles is low, the letter said, one to two possible deaths over the 30-year life of the project, the letter said.

So, that’s one or two a year out of 418 around the area. Worst case is 8 or 15 a year.

That’s an increase in fatalities of 0.2% or 0.4% a year optimistically and up to 1.9% or 3.6% a year worst case.

A previous article in the StarTribune describe a nation-wide problem facing the industry: Wind farm will seek permit to legally kill eagles

In recent years, there have been four documented deaths and one injury to bald eagles from North American wind farms, and many more among golden eagles at one wind farm built along their migration path in California, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service.

Eagles in the wild have a life expectancy of 15 to 20 years.

A wind farm of about 50 turbines can serve to cut that back a bit. I don’t think that’s a particularly good idea, but that is what the wind farm will do

Next post – selective enforcement.

(Hat tip to Million Dollar WayFeds to Allow Slicers and Dicers to Kill Bald Eagles For 30 Years)

My posts on the slice-and-dice industry:

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