Duke Energy Renewables Inc., a subsidiary of Duke Energy Corp., based in Charlotte, N.C., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Wyoming today to violating the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) in connection with the deaths of protected birds, including golden eagles, at two of the company’s wind projects in Wyoming. This case represents the first ever criminal enforcement of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act for unpermitted avian takings at wind projects.
Documents from Wyoming
Earlier in 2013, Wyoming Wind & Power LLC (WW&P) submitted an application to the Wyoming Industrial Siting Council seeking approval to construct and operate a 900 megawatt (300 turbine) facility in Platte, Goshen, Converse and Laramie counties. WW&P has canceled the project citing various reasons. A portion of the letter submitted to the Siting Council is provided below. The full letter can be accessed by clicking on the link(s) at the bottom of this page.
SWEETWATER COUNTY ZONING RESOLUTION SECTION 18 - WIND ENERGY CONVERSION SYSTEMS
This page contains links to letters sent between the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the U.S. Fish and Wild Service regarding whether wind power development is permitted in Wyoming's 'core sage grouse habitat area'. Brian Kelly of the USFWS states in his letter that “ . . . constructing wind farms in core areas, even for research purposes, prior to demonstrating it can be done with no impact to sage grouse, negates the usefulness of the core area concept as a conservation strategy and brings into question whether adequate regulatory mechanisms are in place to protect the species.”
Wyoming's Governor Dave Freudenthal wrote this letter to the legislative Wind Energy Task Force formed in the 2008-2009 session. The Task Force will be studying various aspects of the legal framework surrounding wind energy development including state statutes related to industrial siting and the authority of the Public Service Commission; federal statutes related to state and county authorities and other issues pertaining to wind energy development and its associated transmission infrastructure. The Governor is very clear that environmental concerns will not take a back seat to wind development and that a balance between land uses is essential.