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A wind energy company has pleaded guilty after killing at least 150 eagles : NPR


A bald eagle is proven in 2020 in Philadelphia. NextEra Energy subsidiary ESI Energy was sentenced to probation and ordered to pay greater than $8 million in fines and restitution after at least 150 eagles have been killed over the previous decade at its wind farms in eight states.

Chris Szagola/AP


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Chris Szagola/AP


A bald eagle is proven in 2020 in Philadelphia. NextEra Energy subsidiary ESI Energy was sentenced to probation and ordered to pay greater than $8 million in fines and restitution after at least 150 eagles have been killed over the previous decade at its wind farms in eight states.

Chris Szagola/AP

BILLINGS, Mont. — A wind energy company was sentenced to probation and ordered to pay greater than $8 million in fines and restitution after at least 150 eagles have been killed over the previous decade at its wind farms in eight states, federal prosecutors mentioned Wednesday.

NextEra Energy subsidiary ESI Energy pleaded guilty to a few counts of violating the Migratory Chook Treaty Act throughout a Tuesday courtroom look in Cheyenne, Wyoming. It was charged within the deaths of eagles at three of its wind farms in Wyoming and New Mexico.

Along with these deaths, golden and bald eagles have been killed at wind farms affiliated with ESI and NextEra since 2012 in eight states, prosecutors mentioned: Wyoming, California, New Mexico, North Dakota, Colorado, Michigan, Arizona and Illinois. The birds are killed after they fly into the blades of wind generators. Some ESI generators killed a number of eagles, prosecutors mentioned.

It is unlawful to kill or hurt eagles below federal regulation.

The bald eagle — the U.S. nationwide image — was faraway from safety below the Endangered Species Act in 2007, following a dramatic restoration from its widespread decimation as a result of dangerous pesticides and different issues. Golden eagles haven’t fared as properly, with populations thought of secure however below stress together with from wind farms, collisions with autos, unlawful shootings and poisoning from lead ammunition.

The case comes amid a push by President Joe Biden for extra renewable energy from wind, photo voltaic and different sources to assist cut back local weather altering emissions. It additionally follows a renewed dedication by federal wildlife officers below Biden to implement protections for eagles and different birds below the Migratory Chook Treaty Act, after legal prosecutions have been halted below former President Donald Trump.

Firms traditionally have been capable of keep away from prosecution in the event that they take steps to keep away from chook deaths and search permits for people who happen. ESI didn’t search such a allow, authorities mentioned.

The company was warned previous to constructing the wind farms in New Mexico and Wyoming that they might kill birds, nevertheless it proceeded anyway and at occasions ignored recommendation from federal wildlife officers about how one can reduce the deaths, in accordance with courtroom paperwork.

“For more than a decade, ESI has violated (wildlife) laws, taking eagles without obtaining or even seeking the necessary permit,” mentioned Assistant Legal professional Normal Todd Kim of the Justice Division’s Setting and Pure Assets Division in an announcement.

ESI agreed below a plea settlement to spend as much as $27 million throughout its five-year probationary interval on measures to stop future eagle deaths. That features shutting down generators at occasions when eagles usually tend to be current.

Regardless of these measures, wildlife officers anticipate that some eagles nonetheless might die. When that occurs, the company can pay $29,623 per useless eagle, below the settlement.

NextEra President Rebecca Kujawa mentioned collisions of birds with wind generators are unavoidable accidents that shouldn’t be criminalized. She mentioned the company is dedicated to lowering injury to wildlife from its tasks.

“We disagree with the government’s underlying enforcement activity,” Kujawa mentioned in an announcement. “Building any structure, driving any vehicle, or flying any airplane carries with it a possibility that accidental eagle and other bird collisions may occur.”



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