The Obama administration has given the green light for 30-year permits that allow the wind industry to kill thousands of eagles each year without penalty. U.S. wildlife managers said that thousands of eagles are killed every year due to impacts with the giant wind turbines, blades, towers, and power lines. The midnight green energy regulation is being done to ensure President Obama's 'climate' legacy remains intact after President-elect Donald Trump takes office.

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The finished rule will go into effect Jan. 15 and extends an existing permit that allows for accidental deaths to the bald and golden eagle from wind farms. The previous permit allowed for up to 4,200 bald eagle deaths a year from wind farm killings. The blades can create powerful vortexes that suck in the eagles and other birds and chop them to pieces.

Thousands killed each year

The Fish and Wildlife Service said the current population of 40,000 bald eagles could withstand 2,000 bird deaths a year from turbines.

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Bald eagles, however, number 140,000 and can tolerate 4,200 deaths a year without hurting the population. That’s more than four times the current limit.

The Fish and Wildlife Service believe 545 golden eagles are killed each year, mostly from collisions with obstacles like turbines and vehicles. However, that's based on what they find littered around the wind farms and doesn't take into account birds injured by a wind turbine that flies off and later die from its injuries.

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A national symbol

As America’s national bird, bald eagles were near extinction near the end of the 20th century. In 1995, the eagle was removed from the list of endangered species. By 2007, it was removed from the Endangered and Threatened Wildlife list. Because of green energy, their numbers are dwindling by thousands a year.

This new permit allows wind farm companies to kill thousands of eagles each year without fear of reprisal. Conservationists claim the longer permits will threaten decades of security and may end up putting the eagles back on the endangered list.

Death statistics

This new permit is an extension of an existing permit that was good for five years. It also requires wind companies to use third parties to collect eagle death statistics instead of relying on specialists hired by permit holders. Companies that go over the allowable kill rate could be fined or face legal action, though that’s not spelled out.

One group unhappy about the rush to green energy at the expensive of the iconic bird is the National Audubon Society.

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They believe the 30-year permit is far too long given how little experts know about the impacts of the relatively new wind technology on the Environment. Solar also kills birds as they are attracted to the glinting lights on the panels. If they get too close, they are quickly vaporized.

The Audubon Society believes in expanding the use of renewables, but not at the expense of an iconic symbol already brought back from the brink of extinction.

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