Enviro groups blast plan to extend eagle-kill permits

Source: E&E • Posted: Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Environmentalists are coming down on a proposal to extend permits for the unintentional killing of eagles from five years to 30 years.

As public lands are being opened up for renewable energy development, officials are using the unintentional killing permits as a means of setting clear ground rules for wildlife protection as spinning turbine blades at wind farms have killed birds.

Regulatory officials contend the rules would provide latitude for more responsible energy development. As part of the agreement under the permits, which are issued under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, holders must work to offset damage.

But Kelly Fuller, wind campaign coordinator of the American Bird Conservancy, said such long-term permits would make it difficult to make changes if eagle populations face trouble.

“There are just too many uncertainties to be able to give that permit out for that period of time,” Fuller said.

The public is allowed to comment on the proposed Fish and Wildlife Service rules until Thursday (Morgan Lee, San Diego Union-Tribune, July 9).