Duke Energy fined $1M for eagle deaths

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The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) fined Duke Energy Renewables, a subsidiary of North Carolina-based Duke Energy,  for killing 14 golden eagles and 149 other federally protected birds including hawks, blackbirds, larks, wrens, and sparrows.

Duke Energy Renewables will pay $1 million and is the first wind company to be charged under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, according to a Heartland report.

Duke Energy Renewable pled guilty to killing 163 birds between 2009 and 2013 at two Duke Renewables wind farms in Converse County, Wyo.  Together, the wind farms have 176 turbines.

In the settlement reached between DOJ and Duke Energy Renewables, the company will pay $400,000 to the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund, $100,000 to the state of Wyoming, $160,000 to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and $340,000 to a conservation fund in Wyoming for the purchase of land for golden eagle habitat, the report said.

Duke Energy Renewables will also install radar technology designed to detect eagles approaching the sites and shut down the turbines before the eagle arrives.

The company will pay about $600,000 a year, which will be paid by electricity consumers, for precautions.

The U.S. Department of the Interior announced December 6 the extension of permits for wind farm operators who accidently kill eagles for up to 30 years.

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