In Oklahoma on Thursday, the Osage Nation registered opposition to a US government plan that would allow Wind Capital Group of St. Louis to kill up to three bald eagles a year on its 8400 wind farm, despite the eagles’ protected status.
The Native American group took a stand about the proposed wind energy project on its lands in northeastern Oklahoma and decried the decision based on the tribe’s religious and cultural traditions.
Wind Capital Group presented its proposal to erect 94 wind turbines in a key eagle-nesting habitat and migratory route on land owned by the Osage Nation. The application admits that up to three bald eagles might be killed annually during the development of the 40-year project lifecycle.
The rift between Obama administration and conservationists is intensifying as the president is advocating for renewable energy development due to protected species. Conservationists say they alternative energy but believe the administration should require companies to place turbines away from eagle habitats. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is unable to account for how many eagles have actually been killed annually due to the rapid expansion of wind farm facilities.
Approximately 85 bald and golden eagle deaths have occurred in the US since 1997. Most of the deaths have happened in the past three years, mainly due to the explosion of wind farms across the country due to state and federal grants and government incentives.
Experts for the US government believe a 1,000-turbine project planned for south-central Wyoming might kill up to 64 golden eagles annually. This comes at a time when golden eagle numbers are plummeting and their rate of death is so high that the local breeding population can no longer replace itself.