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USFWS may issue permit for take of Golden Eagles by wind company

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The USFWS is considering issuing a permit to West Butte Wind Power, LLC. The company plans to develop the West Butte wind-power project in central Oregon, and there is a risk of eagle fatalities as a result of the operation of this facility. The application includes an avian and bat protection plan combined with an eagle conservation plan that describes actions taken and proposed future actions to avoid, minimize, and mitigate adverse effects on eagles. The eagle conservation plan was developed in collaboration with the Service.


The full notice of the proposed action, and the draft Environmental Assessment, can be found here:




Comments are due by 17 Feb 2012.


This proposed permit continues a trend by which the USFWS is using its permits system to control the extent of take of protected species in lieu of formal, industry-specific regulation. Though it seems counterintuitive to issue a permit for an otherwise prohibited activity, and rather than prosecuting the offenders, in fact it is unlikely that any court would actually uphold a complete prohibition on every human activity that results in the take of migratory birds - which is to say, almost every human activity. By using the permit system, the USFWS can attempt to limit the extent of take by imposing conditions such as the use of preventative or mitigating measures.

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