California condor, © USFWS

Lawsuit: CA Wind Project Threatens Eagles and Condors

Hoping to avoid avian “death by turbine,” conservation groups have filed a lawsuit in federal court to protect California’s endangered condors and golden eagles from a wind-energy project in the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains. The North Sky River wind project will have more than 100 wind turbines on 13,000 acres.

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Kim Delfino, California program director for Defenders of Wildlife, says the project is moving forward, despite their requests to get it redesigned to avoid environmentally sensitive areas and to include measures to protect at-risk birds.

“This project being proposed is right next door to the now-infamous Pine Tree wind facility. A documented total of eight golden eagles have died there so far this year.”

Delfino says the environmental review of the North Sky River project documented more than 50 golden eagle sightings within just 10 miles of the proposed site. Last year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported nearly 1,600 bird kills, which is among the nation’s highest fatality rates.

The wind energy project also poses a huge threat to other bird species, including the highly endangered California condor, Delfino says.

“All the condors have radio telemetry, and we know where they go. They have flown over this site, and there’s real concern that this site is a very, very bad location.”

The Defenders of Wildlife, along with the Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club, are asking the federal court to stop the project and require the BLM to complete a thorough review before allowing construction to move forward.

Lori Abbott, Public News Service – CA

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