How Do We Value Eagles?

There’s been a lot of publicity about eagles lately. Some of it has been literally unbelievable.

The first thing I saw was an article about Duke Energy paying a fine for killing an unspecified number of Golden eagles and other birds at two of their four locations (sometimes called wind farms–but that sounds so benign, doesn’t it–wind farm?) in Wyoming.

The million dollar fine was imposed under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. And I’m sorry to say that one million dollars to Duke Energy is pocket change to the rest of us. A check like that probably doesn’t even require two signatures before it’s sent out.

Next I saw an article about the new rule that allows operators of the wind farms to obtain permits for 30 years–previously the limit had been 5–to lawfully “harvest” birds if they have proven that they have taken all reasonable measures to keep the birds safe.

I might be a little more comfortable with this if I knew there were going to be some oversight. But the only oversight we can expect will be from the extremely cash-strapped environmental groups who will send volunteers in to check up on these companies. We surely can’t–and shouldn’t–expect that the government will be doing it, even at the 5 year renewal increments for the permits that they left in place.

As I asked on Friday, as we approach the new year, one of the things most of us do is make a list of “resolutions.” Can we, as a society, try to “resolve” to better value some of our magnificent natural resources, like eagles?

2 thoughts on “How Do We Value Eagles?

  1. michele December 27, 2013 / 8:28 pm

    Are there any means available to prevent or decrease the bird slayings? It bothers me very much that these valuable & beautiful creatures are dying, but I support wind energy because it not only decreases dependence on oil & gas but doesn’t add to carbon emissions. Is there any way to preserve both?

  2. gardendaze December 27, 2013 / 9:29 pm

    Like you, I’m in favor of sustainable energy. I have read that where they build the turbines matters, and the design matters as well. But I am by no means an expert on these things.

    Still, I have to believe that this “harvesting rate” surely could be reduced, particularly since there is now some strange affliction affecting the eagles in Utah at least. If we are not careful, eagles might quickly become endangered again.

    Thanks for reading and commenting.


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