US to issue eagle-kill permits for wind farms

UNITED STATES: The US administration is to issue 30-year permits to wind farm operators to allow for the accidental killing of eagles on developments without fear of penalty.

Operators will be alowed to kill a number of golden eagles

Companies will be immune to prosecution over the death of bald and golden eagles up to a certain threshold, if that can show that they have taken measures to avoid the possible killing of birds during the planning of the project.

If this limit, which will depend of the size and location of the projects, is reached, then operators will have to show they are taking further measures to limit deaths.

A five-year permit for eagle kills has been available to energy companies since 2009, but not a single one has been taken up yet.

The move follows a $1 million settlement between Duke Energy and the Department of Justice following the energy company's admission that golden eagles and other protected birds were killed by turbines at two of its Wyoming wind farms.

The company faced the charges because it was deemed not to have given proper consideration to the risk of bird deaths when planning the wind farms.