The renewable energy company received a five-year regulatory period and an order to pay more than $8 million. Fines after killing 150 golden eagles and white-tailed eagles in wind turbines.
NextEra Energy’s subsidiary ESI Energy has pleaded guilty to violating the Migratory Bird Act, according to a Department of Justice press release.
This law prohibits the killing or harvesting of certain protected birds without federal government approval. Golden eagles and white-tailed eagles are additionally protected by federal law.
According to the Department of Justice, the company has pleaded guilty to three specific deaths that have resulted in fines. As part of the case, she also admitted Until the death of more than 150 eagles on the company’s wind farms in Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, North Dakota, Michigan, and other states.
Prosecutors say the Eagles died between 2012 and 136 of them were killed as a result of hitting the turbine blade. As determined by the US Department of State, ESI has not applied for the necessary permits after the birds died.
“For more than a decade, ESI has violated wildlife laws by killing vultures without or even applying for the necessary permit,” Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Division of Environment and Natural Resources said in a statement.
In a statement of guilt, ESI agreed to spend up to $27 million during court supervision. on the Vulture Case Management Plan to reduce future deaths and injuries of vultures. It also pledged to pay 29 thousand PLN. $23 for any future injury or death to a white-tailed or golden eagle
In a statement, ESI said collision with wind turbines is inevitable and should not be punished. “Our company is doing its best to avoid accidental collisions with birds, including vultures,” said Rebecca Kugawa, President of NextEra.
The ruling came after pressure from the Biden administration to increase the share of renewable energy, including a major expansion of offshore wind farms.
The effect of wind turbines on birds is controversial and was a favorite topic of former President Donald Trumpone of the well-known opponents of wind turbines.
During the 2020 presidential debate, then-US President Donald Trump said wind turbines kill “every bird” after saying he knew “more about the wind” than then-candidate Joe Biden.
Trump personally opposed installing wind turbines near his properties, sued the Scottish government over plans to build an offshore wind farm that Trump said would spoil the view from his golf course in Aberdeenshire. Trump was unsuccessful and had to pay the Scottish government’s legal costs.
According to data collected by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, American wild wind turbines kill about 234,000 birds a year as a result of the collision. For comparison, collisions with building windows kill a billion birds, and cats kill about 2.4 billion birds annually.
According to the United States Bird Conservancy, turbines indirectly favor birds because they slow climate change and help conserve endangered habitats.
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