A wind company has been ordered to try and pay more than $ 8 million in salaries and restitution after the deaths of 150 eagles over the past ten years in its operations. wind farms in eight states, federal officials said Wednesday.
NextEra Energy subsidiary ESI Energy pleaded guilty to three counts of violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act during a court hearing in Cheyenne, Wyoming. It has been blamed for the deaths of nine eagles at three of its wind farms in Wyoming and New Mexico.
In addition to those deaths, ESI has reported the deaths of golden and bald eagles in 50 wind farms affiliated with ESI and NextEra since 2012. The birds have died in eight states, officials said. applicants: Wyoming, California, New Mexico, North Dakota, Colorado, Michigan, Arizona and Illinois.
The birds died when they flew into the skin of the wind. Some ESI eagles have killed many eagles and because the bodies are not always found, officials say more than 150 birds have been killed by lawyers in the documents. trial.
NextEra’s proposal comes amid President Joe Biden’s call for more energy from wind, solar and other sources to help reduce climate change. Following the re -enactment of federal wildlife officials under Biden to implement protections for eagles and other birds under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, following the enactment of criminal charges under former President Donald Trump.
There is no law to kill or harm eagles under federal law.
The bald eagle – the national symbol of the United States – was removed from protection under the Endangered Species Act in 2007, after recovering from extensive decimation caused by harmful pesticides and with other problems. Wildlife officials say more than 300,000 bald eagles live in the U.S., not including Alaska.
The golden eagles were not good, with a population that was considered stable but under pressure from wind farmers, associations with cars, unarmed guns and intoxicants from lead cannons. There are about 31,800 golden eagles in the Western U.S., according to a study released last week by eagle research leaders from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other organizations.
More than 2,000 golden eagles are killed each year due to human causes, or about 60% of all deaths, researchers say. The study determined that the death toll of the golden eagle “is likely to increase in the future” due to increased wind energy and other human activities.
Businesses in the past could have avoided prosecution under the old Bird Migratory Convention if they had taken steps to prevent the deaths of the birds and sought permits for foreigners. standing. ESI is not seeking a similar agreement, officials said.
The company was instructed before setting up wind farms in New Mexico and Wyoming that they would kill the birds, but has continued for some time not to heed advice from wildlife officials about reducing mortality, according to court documents.
“For more than a decade, ESI has broken the (wildlife) laws, taking eagles without obtaining or obtaining a proper license,” he said. Attorney General Todd Kim of the Department of Education and Natural Resources in a statement.
ESI has agreed under a plea deal to spend up to $ 27 million over its five -year probationary period on measures to prevent future eagle deaths. This is to lock the turbines in case the eagles come.
Despite those actions, wildlife officials believe some eagles could be killed. When that is done, the company will pay $ 29,623 for the dead eagle, under the agreement.
NextEra President Rebecca Kujawa said the combination of birds with wind turbines was a disaster that could not be done wrong. He said the Juno Beach, Florida -based company – which in its own right is the world’s largest economy by market value – is committed to reducing wildlife damage from its projects.
“We do not agree with the government that is initiating the implementation,” Kujawa said in a statement. “Building a house, driving a car, or flying an airplane will take with it the possibility of a black eagle and other flocks of birds.”
How will the wind blow affect the Golden Eagles?
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