Guilty plea in bird deaths at wind farms a first

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Associated Press

Posted on November 23, 2013 at 7:35 AM

Updated Saturday, Nov 23 at 11:02 AM

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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