Wyo. wind project may get OK to kill bald eagles
One of the biggest windenergy projects under development in the U.S. got closer Thursday to securing a federal permit to kill a limited number of eagles without penalty.
A final plan released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would help ensure the Chokecherry-Sierra Madre wind farm in south-central Wyoming doesn’t kill too many bald and golden eagles with its hundreds of spinning turbine blades.
Power Company of Wyoming could get two permits as soon as January if Fish and Wildlife gives final approval to the plan. One permit would allow removal of unoccupied eagle nests during construction of the first 500 of potentially up to 1,000 turbines.
A five-year permit would allow up to 14 golden eagle deaths a year during operation. Power Company of Wyoming, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Denver-based Anschutz Corp., would offset those deaths by retrofitting existing power lines so they can’t electrocute eagles.
The goal would be no net loss of golden eagles, if not a net benefit for the species.
“We know that golden eagles get electrocuted. There’s a way to estimate how frequently they get electrocuted by power lines that are not safe,” said Clint Riley, Fish and Wildlife assistant regional director for migratory birds. “They have to fix enough power poles to try to match up the number of eagles that would be saved by those actions compared to those that would be taken