Wind projects at a standstill

Golden-eagle gripes

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management was recently forced to delay issuing permits for wind projects built on public land, after wildlife officials pointed out that whirling turbines could kill federally protected golden eagles, according to The Associated Press.

The suspension has thwarted efforts to gain fast-track approval for four of seven proposed wind projects (three in California) that are expected to have the largest impact in meeting the nation’s energy goals. In addition, the projects are now likely to miss the year-end deadline to acquire hundreds of millions of dollars in stimulus funds. If Congress does not grant extensions on the stimulus funds, the four proposed projects may never become a reality.

The effort to construct wind farms on federal land has been consistently delayed by the economy, defense and aviation authorities, and other wildlife issues since Congress set a goal in 2005 to develop renewable energy on public lands.

Eagles are protected by the decades-old Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.