Wyo. wind project may get OK to kill bald ea­gles

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS - By Mead Gru­ver by the wind farm.” The per­mit would al­low as many as two bald ea­gles per year to be killed. The com­pany wouldn’t have to take mea­sures to off­set bald ea­gle deaths be­cause bald ea­gles, as a species, are abun­dant enough to with­stand those lo

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

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