As Europeans settled the American West, many native animals suffered. That included the vast herds of buffaloes and the American eagles.
Endangered species lists and extreme conservation efforts had started to return buffaloes to the prairies. The American eagles struggled back from near extinction, too.
However, America’s push to tame a new frontier poses a 21st century threat to eagles. Wind farms with turbines as tall as 30-story buildings are filling the country’s renewable energy needs, but they are taking out some eagles and the Obama administration has granted companies permission to do so without penalty for up to 30 years.
An Associated Press investigation shows the illegal killing of eagles around wind farms and the Obama administration’s decision not to prosecute and to keep the eagles’ deaths a secret. Companies will have to submit reports on the number of eagles they kill. The permits will be reviewed every five years.
It would seem that some new devices would be developed and rigged up around wind farms to emit a signal like deer whistles to prevent eagles from getting too close. Let’s hope science provides the answer while the country continues to add new wind farms to keep up with America’s green energy needs.
Lewis W. Diuguid is a columnist for the Kansas City Star.
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