A Bald Eagle in Vermont

A Bald Eagle in Vermont

President of National Audubon David Yarnold has issued a strong challenge to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on the Department of the Interior’s unwillingness to accept a consensus-based agreement for wind power development. National Audubon and 21 other organizations reached a consensus agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Department of the Interior officials in 2012. The deal included new science-based guidelines for siting wind towers, provided U.S Fish and Wildlife Service participation in wind tower siting decisions, and protected sites with high risk potential for birds and bats, with special focus on Bald and Golden Eagles, and included 5-year reviews to address regulation shortcomings.

The new Department of the Interior rule rejects the consensus agreement, instead calling for 30-year permits for wind towers to kill or injure migratory birds including eagles. U.S. wind towers killed at least six Bald Eagles and 61 Golden Eagles in the last five years, excluding California’s notorious Altamont Pass turbines, which kill 65-70 eagles annually. According to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service study published in September 2013, 573,000 birds are killed annually nationwide, including 83,000 raptors. The 30-year permit calls for 5-year reviews, although the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director has said the funding for 5-year reviews is not available.

The Otter Creek Audubon board of directors encourages you to write Secretary Sally Jewell, Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street N.W., Washington D.C. 20240 to object to the Department of the Interior’s failure to protect eagles and other birds. You can find sample language for a letter at www.audubonaction.org/site/Advocacy?id=1549.

You can receive email notices of important national, regional and local Audubon advocacy issues that need your support by signing up for the Audubon Activist Alerts at this link http://www.audubonaction.org/site/PageServer?pagename=aa_homepage.

– Warren King