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Feds: Calif. wind farm’s giant blades can kill eagles and no one will face prosecution

The federal government is issuing a special permit to a wind farm just outside San Francisco that will allow investors to avoid prosecution over eagle deaths caused by giant blades or electrocution.

The Shiloh IV Wind Project LLC, 60 miles east of San Francisco will avoid criminal charges for the death of golden eagles, provided it retrofits 133 power poles, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Thursday. The 102-megawatt wind farm, which has operated since 2012, will be allowed to accidentally kill up to five golden eagles over the course of five years without penalty.
“We can’t solve the problem of eagle mortality at wind farms overnight. But this commonsense solution merits the support of all who advocate for the long-term conservation of eagles,” agency Director Daniel Ashe said in a statement, the Associated Press reported Thursday.

The permit is seen by its advocates as a way to boost investment in green energy initiatives and propel California to its goal of producing one-third of its energy from renewable sources by 2020, AP reported.

Animal rights activists are not comfortable with the strategy.

“Is it really green energy if it’s going to kill hundreds of thousands of birds or bats each year?” asked Michael Hutchins of the American Bird Conservancy, AP reported. “The whole system needs a much harder look.”

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