US firm fined $8m after 150 eagles die at its wind farms

A US-based wind energy firm called ESI Energy, has been slapped with an $8m fine after at least 150 eagles died at its wind farms across eight states over the last 10 years. The company has also been given five years of probation.

ESI Energy, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy, has pleaded guilty to three counts of violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The company acknowledged the deaths of golden and bald eagles since 2012 at its farms in Wyoming, California, New Mexico, North Dakota, Colorado, Michigan, Arizona and Illinois.

Prosecutors said that the actual number of birds killed at these farms was likely higher than 150 as the carcasses are usually not found. Almost all of these birds were killed after being hit by the blades of wind turbines.

ESI and other NextEra affiliates received hundreds of millions of dollars in federal tax credits, but failed to take steps to protect the birds, added the prosecutors. They further stated that the company’s failure to obtain a permit to kill them had given it advantage over its rivals who did get the permit.