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New rules may put eagles at risk

December 30, 2013

As the President for the Northeast Pennsylvania Audubon Society, I was shocked and dismayed to learn of the U.S. Department of Interior’s (DIO) plan to allow 30-year permits for the killing of Bald and Golden Eagles at wind farms.

We know we need wind energy as one of our strategies to combat climate change. But Audubon believes that we must carefully site and manage these facilities to reduce impacts to birds and other wildlife. This 30-year permit takes us in the wrong direction.

How can the Interior Department sanction the needless killing of our national symbol, the Bald Eagle? This rule was not necessary to promote responsible wind power development. With no effective conservation measures in place, and without adequate monitoring capabilities, the government is locking in unproven and ineffective permit conditions for decades while protecting the wind industry from enforcement. It is a recipe for more dead eagles.

National Audubon has taken a pragmatic, results-oriented approach to reach an agreement with the wind industry that would have protected eagles and supported renewable energy deployment. We did the hard work of finding a real solution. But DOI issued a bad rule that won't prevent the killing of eagles even while it creates potential roadblocks for renewables deployment.

On behalf of the more than 650 members of the Northeast Pennsylvania chapter of the National Audubon Society, I urge Interior Secretary Jewell to reverse this decision and work with conservation groups and the wind industry to come up with a better solution—one that both promotes wind energy and safeguards our bald and golden eagle populations.

Chris Fischer, President
Northeast Pennsylvania Audubon Society
Honesdale, PA