September 22, 2019

Eagle Permits; Revisions to Regulations for Eagle Incidental Take and Take of Eagle Nests; Final Rule

Executive Summary

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is finalizing revisions to permit regulations for nonpurposeful (incidental) take of eagles and take of eagle nests in part 22 of title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The revisions are intended to create a permitting framework that we can implement more efficiently and thus encourage greater public compliance while ensuring protection of bald and golden eagles. Our goal is to enhance protection of eagles throughout their ranges through implementation of mitigation measures that avoid and minimize, and compensate for, adverse impacts from otherwise lawful activities.

The Service is modifying the definition of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act’s “preservation standard,” which requires that permitted take be compatible with the preservation of eagles. We are also removing the distinction between standard and programmatic permits, codifying standardized mitigation requirements, and extending the maximum permit duration for eagle incidental take permits (50 CFR 22.26). The regulations also include a number of additional revisions to the eagle nest take regulations at 50 CFR 22.27, as well as revisions to the permit fee schedule at 50 CFR 13.11; new and revised definitions in 50 CFR 22.3; revisions to 50 CFR 22.25 (permits for golden eagle nest take for resource development and recovery operations) for consistency with the Sec. 22.27 nest take permits; and two provisions that apply to all eagle permit types (50 CFR 22.4 and 22.11).<<<Read More>>>

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Battling Wind Energy in Maine – Update

From the Partnership for the Preservation of the Downeast Lakes Watershed:

Jan 4, 2016

Happy New Year to one and all.

You’re probably aware that Maine’s wind law has created a large area that is “pre-zoned” as suitable for wind development. The area is known as the expedited wind permitting area (EWPA). It was the wind developers themselves who decided what townships, etc. would become “expedited” and they did so without regard for the wishes of the citizens. Those of us lucky enough to live in organized towns have the right to enact ordinances restricting wind development but our neighbors in unorganized municipalities do not have that right.

Thanks to the expert and tireless efforts of Alan & Kay Michka, Karen Bessey-Pease and others, LD 828, An Act To Improve Regulatory Consistency Within The Jurisdiction Of The Maine Land Use Planning Commission, was passed by the legislature.  Governor LePage signed it into law in June of 2015.

LD 828 allows registered voters in any township, plantation or municipality in the EWPA to petition the state to be removed from the EWPA. The process is described in detail on LUPC’s website (   http://www.maine.gov/dacf/lupc/projects/wind_expedited_area/wind_expedited.shtml  ).

I’m very excited to tell you that at 8:10 this morning, Carroll Plt resident Wally Lindahl presented to LUPC a petition signed by Carroll residents asking that Carroll Plt be removed from the expedited wind permitting area. The moment he handed the petition in, Carroll became temporarily protected from wind development. Many thanks, Wally, for collecting the signatures and presenting the petition to LUPC! If no person requests the substantive review of the petitionwithin 45 days, Carroll Plt will be automatically removed from the expedited area. This does not prohibit wind development. But it does means that before a developer can submit a permit application, they will first have to get LUPC to agree to zone the Plt as being appropriate for wind energy project. While all other industries must comply with zoning laws, the wind industry in Maine considers this an unfair nuisance.

If within 45 days someone DOES request the substantive review of the petition, LUPC will schedule a public hearing to determine whether Carroll belongs in the expedited area or not. In order for LUPC to decide that Carroll Plt ought to be removed from the EWPA, two criteria must be met:

Criterion A. The proposed removal will not have an unreasonable adverse effect on the State’s ability to meet the state goals for wind energy development
Criterion B. The proposed removal is consistent with the principal values and the goals in the comprehensive land use plan adopted by the Maine Land Use Planning Commission

That’s the good news. The bad news is that Jeremy Payne, Director of the Maine Renewable Energy Association told Channel 6 News that he intends to challenge the petitions and request that LUPC conduct a substantive review. If the Carroll petition goes to a public hearing, we’ll be ready to fight tooth and nail to see that the decisions of LURC (2012), DEP (2013), BEP (2014) and the State Supreme Court (2015) are upheld and that the Downeast Lakes remain free of turbine views.

The fight to protect the Downeast Lakes from wind development may be over, or it may not.

I’ll keep you posted,

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Maine SC Upholds Denial of Wind Project

CHAMPLAIN WIND, LLC v. BOARD OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

Champlain Wind, LLC, appeals from a decision of the Board of Environmental Protection in which the Board considered and balanced competing statutorily defined policies applicable to wind energy projects in Maine. The applicable statutes establish the dual policies of expediting wind energy development in defined geographic areas of Maine and at the same time providing enhanced protection for specific scenic resources. Champlain proposed the Bowers Wind Project to be situated within, but very near, the geographic border of the expedited permitting area. Within sight of the proposed wind turbines lie several scenic resources of state or national significance. On the record before us, we do not disturb the Board’s balancing of the Legislature’s policies, and we affirm the Board’s denial of a permit for the Project.<<<Read More>>>

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Bald and Golden Eagles Victorious: Court Invalidates 30-Year “Eagle Take” Rule 

(Washington, D.C., August 12, 2015) The U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, in San Jose has ruled that the Department of the Interior violated federal laws when it created a final regulation allowing wind energy and other companies to obtain 30-year permits to kill protected Bald and Golden Eagles without prosecution by the federal government. … Read More>>

Source: Bald and Golden Eagles Victorious: Court Invalidates 30-Year “Eagle Take” Rule | American Bird Conservancy

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Wind Turbines: The Bigger They Are The Harder They Fall

An 80-metre wind turbine has collapsed on a mountainside near Fintona in County Tyrone.
It was one of eight turbines on the Screggagh wind farm on Murley mountain. The turbine, valued at over £500,000, collapsed on Friday evening, scattering debris over a wide area.<<<Read More Watch Video>>>

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Creating Scarcity At a Very High Price

“The RET review by Dick Warburton on the government’s behalf has brought the rent-seekers out in force, for billions of dollars of corporate welfare is resting on its outcome.

As it stands, the RET will produce a bounteous return for a small group of investors shrewd enough to get into the windmill game while the rest of us are slapped with four-figure power bills.

Wind farms may be ugly but they are certainly not cheap, nor is the electricity that trickles from them. No one in their right minds would buy one if they had to sell power for $30 to $40 a megawatt hour, the going rate for conventional producers.

But since the retailers are forced to buy a proportion of renewable power, the windmill mafia can charge two to three times that price, a practice that in any other market would be known as price gouging.”<<<Read More>>>

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Fish and Wildlife Projects Canned In Favor of “Green” Projects

“It appears the federal agency entrusted with protecting fish and wildlife in the U.S. has a new mission – to promote and further wind and solar energy projects on public lands, despite the cost to fish and wildlife programs.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is one of several agencies under the umbrella of the Department of the Interior (DOI). In recent years DOI has evolved into a vehicle to further the Obama administration’s push for “clean” energy, using the more than 500 million acres the Department manages to further this goal.”<<<Read More>>>

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“Green” Energy Turns Black, Company Pleads Guilty in Windmill Eagle Deaths

WASHINGTON – The government for the first time has enforced environmental laws protecting birds against wind energy facilities, winning a $1 million settlement Friday from a power company that pleaded guilty to killing 14 eagles and 149 other birds at two Wyoming wind farms.
click image to enlarge

A golden eagle is seen flying over a wind turbine on Duke Energy’s Top of the World wind farm in Converse County, Wyo., in April. The Obama administration is taking action against wind farms for killing eagles.

The Obama administration has championed pollution-free wind power and used the same law against oil companies and power companies for drowning and electrocuting birds. The case against Duke Energy Corp. and its renewable energy arm was the first prosecuted under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act against a wind energy company.<<<Read More>>>

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