FWS: Complying with federal law would be just toooooo difficult, so guess I’ll just ignore it. Federal Judge: Guess again.

Bald eagle at Minot zoo who isn't at risk of getting chopped up by a wind turbine. Photo by James Ulvog.
Bald eagle at Minot zoo who isn’t at risk of getting chopped up by a wind turbine. Photo by James Ulvog.

Turns out that Fish and Wildlife Service can’t just let the wind industry kill off eagles for 30 years without considering the environment issues because understanding the impact would be too hard to figure out.

8/13 – Courthouse News Service – Judge Rules for Eagles Over Wind Power – The Fish and Wildlife Service decided that when it gave special dispensation to wind farms to kill off a few eagles here and there they could grant permission for 30 years instead of the 5 years currently allowed. Under current rules, after the five-year limit expires the permission would be reviewed before allowing another 5 year to off a bunch of eagles.

That means that once FWS gave its official blessings to kill off eagles, wind farm operators could do so for 30 years without public oversight other than some vague disclosures, to be determined later.

So-called “taking” permits allow wind farm operators to kill whatever bald and golden eagles meander into a wind turbine blade without fear of prosecution for doing so.

A Federal judge said an environmental impact statement and an environmental assessment must be performed first, as required by federal law.

The judge disagreed with the FWS assertion that they didn’t have to bother because the

“environmental effects are too broad, speculative, or conjectural to lend themselves to meaningful analysis,”

The agency can’t just blow off federal law, essentially on the basis that preparing such studies would be too difficult.

Another bald eagle at Minot zoo not at risk of a close encounter with a slice-and-dicer. Photo by James Ulvog.
Another bald eagle at Minot zoo not exposed to a close encounter with a slice-and-dicer blade. Photo by James Ulvog.

I am confident that many people in business would like to use that standard – I just plain didn’t feel like complying with that environmental law because I felt it would be just too difficult and complex and just too incredibly hard for my little brain to figure out how to comply. 

I urgently recommend you avoid that argument next time you get a call from the EPA or FWS or IRS or SEC or FTC.

Please. I beg you.

Do not use that argument with a regulator. Never ever.

Oh, the wind industry lobbying group was a participant in the case, advocating to let stand the 30-year offing rule.

P.S. Since I’m on a roll of photos from the Minot zoo, here is a closeup of a big kitty focused on some wart hogs across the way as they have lunch. He is wondering how he could get over there to make them his lunch.

Tiger at Minot zoo. Photo by James Ulvog.
Tiger at Minot zoo. Photo by James Ulvog.

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