|Reuters photo by Bob Strong|
Wind energy companies argued that "they needed the longer permits to provide more stability to investors in the growing renewable power industry," Zuckerman writes. In 2013, Fish and Wildlife "approved a similar plan extending 'eagle-take' permits to 30 years, but a U.S. judge overturned it last year. The judge agreed with conservation groups that the agency had failed to properly assess the impact on federally protected eagle populations."
Fish and Wildlife said the current population of 140,000 bald eagles could "withstand the loss of about 2,000 birds annually" and "could sustain as many as 4,200 fatalities a year without endangering the species," Zuckerman writes. The agency estimates that about "545 golden eagles are thought to perish annually from collisions with obstacles ranging from turbines to vehicles."