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Eagles and turbines: Environmental goals at odds near Red Wing

This past spring, the Raptor Resource Group in Decorah, Iowa, placed a camera near an eagle’s nest. I was able to see the male and female tend to their nest and watch as the eggs hatched and as the eaglets grew up and eventually flew. It was a thrilling experience.

When I was a child growing up in the 1960s and ’70s, it was a rare and exciting event to spot an eagle, because their numbers were so low (due to DDT and reproductive failure).

So I was very disappointed to read that the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission had voted to move a wind project forward in Red Wing despite warnings from federal wildlife officials that the blades could kill the eagles (“Bald eagles could thwart a wind farm,”July 24).

The Mississippi River between Red Wing and Wabasha is the nesting grounds and winter home for bald and golden eagles. The National Eagle Center in Wabasha counted more than 400 eagles living there last December.

Some of these eagles travel from as far away as Alaska, covering many miles per day. Can we assume that they will simply fly around the wind farm?

According to the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, “only about 50% of first-year birds live. Studies have shown that only one in ten eagles make it to five years of age.

They face electrocution from high voltage wires, pesticides, lead poisoning from bullets ingested from dead prey, fishing lines and rodent poisons.” Will we have to add turbine blades to this list?

I hope the PUC will rethink its decision. Wind power has its place, but Red Wing has too many eagles to lose.