For the first time, the United States government has fined a wind energy facility for killing birds.
A one million dollar penalty was recently assessed Duke Energy Renewables for killing 14 golden eagles and other federally protected birds at two of the company's wind power projects in Wyoming. Although poorly sited turbines have been killing eagles and other birds for decades this marks the first time a wind energy company has been brought to justice for violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act which makes it a federal crime to kill any protected bird species. One of the greatest threats to birds here in the Rio Grande Valley is the continued expansion of vast wind turbine industrial complexes.
Nationwide wind turbines kill hundreds of thousands of birds annually. Deep South Texas has the highest concentration of migratory birds in North America and is home to many rare and endangered species such as the aplomado falcon, which are threatened by the deadly turbines.
Local United States Fish and Wildlife biologists are particularly concerned about a proposed wind energy facility near the Bahia Grande Unit of Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge near Laguna Vista where the aplomado falcons reside. Christopher Perez, USFWS Biologist, "There are some wind farms that are proposed pretty close to the refuge so we are concerned about it. It is not a good location for them." Another proposed facility offshore of South Padre Island could have a devastating effect on migratory birds. Hopefully, the recent million dollar fine will begin to persuade wind energy companies to locate their lethal turbines in areas less likely to result in bird fatalities.
Meanwhile, numerous other cases of bird deaths attributed to turbines are being investigated in what many view as long overdue enforcement of the largely unregulated wind turbine energy industry. With your Nature Report I'm Richard Moore