Court Deals Blow to Wind Energy Permits to Harm Eagles

The US District Court for the Northern District of California, on August 11, struck down a decision by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to allow wind energy developers to obtain 30-year permits to accidentally kill or injure (“take”) bald and golden eagles (see AWI Quarterly, winter 2014). Judge Lucy Koh ruled that the USFWS failed to provide adequate justification for extending the take permits from 5 to 30 years without first preparing an environmental impact statement or an environmental assessment, as the National Environmental Policy Act requires. AWI opposed the 30-year permits, as they would mean less monitoring of harm to eagles and potentially weaker efforts at mitigation. On October 9, the USFWS filed notice that it intends to appeal the ruling.

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