Another Golden Eagle Killed by Industry

Basin and Range Watch learned from the Bureau of Land Management that another golden eagle was killed, this time at the Spring Valley Wind project built in Nevada's Great Basin desert.  The project -- owned by Pattern Energy -- was built on remote desert wildlands despite concerns from environmental organizations that it could jeopardize a large population of Mexican free-tailed bats.  Spring Valley Wind began operations last year. The wind project is only permitted to kill one eagle, and another eagle death could require the project to curtail operations, although enforcement and compliance are doubtful.

A raptor perches on a creosote bush in the Mojave Desert.
The golden eagle death in Nevada occurs less than two months after NextEra's North Sky River wind project in California killed its first golden eagle, only weeks after beginning operations in the Tehachapi Mountains.  The North Sky River wind project industrialized potential California condor habitat, and was built despite objections from environmental groups (Defenders of Wildlife, Center for Biological Diversity, and the Sierra Club).

North Sky River is near the notorious Pine Tree Wind project, which has killed at least eight golden eagles in an approximately three-year period.  On a per-turbine basis, the relatively small Pine Tree Wind project is more deadly than the massive Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area, where nearly 6,000 turbines kill upwards of 70-110 golden eagles each year, according to the Golden Gate Audubon Society

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's Pine Tree wind project may kill more golden eagles on a per-turbine basis than the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area.  The project has also industrialized western Mojave habitat along the Tehachapi Mountain range.
Unfortunately, communications from Sierra Club's national headquarters continue to undercut grassroots efforts to confront and correct siting errors by the rapidly expanding renewable energy. Instead of attempting to convey a nuanced argument that we need a sustainable renewable energy path that protects wildlife, the Sierra Club informed its membership in its most recent issue of Sierra magazine that 440,000 annual bird deaths at wind projects are "trivial," and inaccurately assessed that bird deaths like the ones happening at Altamont Pass are an "outlier".


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