Wind energy farm under scrutiny after golden eagles die

Federal authorities are investigating the deaths of at least six golden eagles at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's 120 MW capacity Pine Tree Wind Project in the Tehachapi Mountains.

The Los Angeles Times reported that an internal LADWP bird and bat mortality report for the year that ended June 2010 indicated that almost 1,600 birds die at Pine Tree every year. The farm has 90 turbines on 8,000 acres.

Nationwide, 440,000 birds are killed every year by wind farms, according to estimates from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

No wind energy company has been prosecuted by federal wildlife authorities in connection with the death of birds protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, the article said. A prosecution in the Pine Tree case could reportedly cause some rethinking and redesigning of wind farms and turbines.

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