Policy: Environment & Energy

Guilty plea in bird deaths at wind farms a first

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Photo - FILE - In this April 18, 2013, file photo, a golden eagle is seen flying over a  wind turbine on Duke energy's top of the world wind farm in Converse County Wyo. For the first time, the Obama administration is taking action against wind farms for killing eagles. In a settlement announced Friday, Nov. 22, Duke Energy will pay $1 million for killing 14 golden eagles over the past three years at two Wyoming wind farms. The company says it pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. (AP Photo/Dina Cappiello, File)
FILE - In this April 18, 2013, file photo, a golden eagle is seen flying over a wind turbine on Duke energy's top of the world wind farm in Converse County Wyo. For the first time, the Obama administration is taking action against wind farms for killing eagles. In a settlement announced Friday, Nov. 22, Duke Energy will pay $1 million for killing 14 golden eagles over the past three years at two Wyoming wind farms. The company says it pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. (AP Photo/Dina Cappiello, File)
News,Nation,Energy and Environment,Animals,Wind Energy

WASHINGTON (AP) — A major U.S. power company has pleaded guilty to killing eagles and other birds at two Wyoming wind farms as part of the first enforcement of environmental laws protecting birds against wind energy facilities.

Under the settlement Friday, North Carolina-based Duke Energy Corp. and its renewable energy arm agreed to pay $1 million. Much of the money will go toward conservation efforts.

The company pleaded guilty to killing 14 eagles and 149 other birds at two wind farms outside Casper, Wyo., from 2009 to 2013.

Wind farms are clusters of turbines as tall as 30-story buildings, with spinning rotors.

Before the case, no wind energy company had been prosecuted for the death of an eagle or other protected bird — even though such deaths are usually a federal violation.

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