The Obama administration said Friday it will allow some companies to kill or injure bald and golden eagles for up to 30 years without penalty, an effort to spur development and investment in green energy while balancing its environmental consequences.
The change, requested by the wind energy industry, will provide legal protection for the lifespan of wind farms and other projects for which companies obtain a permit and make efforts to avoid killing the birds.
An investigation by The Associated Press earlier this year documented the illegal killing of eagles around wind farms, the Obama administration’s reluctance to prosecute such cases and its willingness to help keep the scope of the eagle deaths secret. The White House has championed wind power, a pollution-free energy intended to ease global warming, as a cornerstone of President Barack Obama’s energy plan.
In other areas, too, such as the government’s support for corn-based ethanol to reduce U.S. dependence on gasoline, the White House has allowed the green industry to do not-so-green things. Another AP investigation recently showed that ethanol has proven far more damaging to the environment than politicians promised and much worse than the government admits today.