Wind farm asks for permission to harm eagles


West Butte Wind Power is the first wind farm in the country to ask the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service if it can harm Golden Eagles.

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West Butte Wind Power is the first wind farm in the country to ask the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service if it can harm Golden Eagles.

It’s a development that follows a three-year-old effort by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to rein in a spike in eagle mortality rates amid collisions with wind turbines, and has conservation groups cautiously optimistic about the wind industry’s future on American lands.

The central Oregon wind farm, owned by California-based Pacific Wind Power, is located 32 miles east of Bend on a 5,000-foot plateau. The 104-megawatt operation set to develop there would include 52 wind turbines on the land off Highway 20. If approved for the “take” permit, West Butte will become the first American wind farm approved under new federal rules intended to reconcile bird protections with a national push for clean energy development.

The rules now tie permit approval for wind farms with conservation measures, allowing wind developers to apply for take permits, or permits allowing wind farms to kill, harass or disturb bald and golden eagles, their nests or their eggs, in exchange for conservation measures that benefit eagles.

Read more at Sustainable Business Oregon.

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