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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Kaplow on First Criminal Prosecution for Bird Deaths by Wind Turbine

At Green Building Law Update, Stuart Kaplow has a post entitled, "First Ever Criminal Prosecution For Deaths Of Birds By Wind Turbine."  The case Kaplow discusses involves the death of over 150 birds that were killed by wind turbines.  The turbines were owned by Duke Energy Renewables, Inc.

Kaplow writes:

In a criminal information, Duke Energy Renewables Inc., a subsidiary of Duke Energy Corp., was charged with violating the 1915 era federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act in connection with the deaths of federally protected birds at the two of the company wind projects in Wyoming. 
Duke Energy plead guilty on November 23, 2013 to 2 misdemeanor counts. “This case represents the first criminal conviction under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act for unlawful avian takings at wind projects,” said Robert G. Dreher, an Acting Assistant Attorney General.
Kaplow argues that this case is the first avian taking case against a wind company and that this type of prosecution is not good public policy in light of broader environmental considerations.  I am inclined to agree, and Kaplow highlights this other post that discusses the possibility of permits for wind turbine companies to cause the deaths of birds without violating the law.

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