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PacifiCorp Fined For Wyoming Bird Deaths

Chuck Abbe
/
Wikimedia Commons

The utility giant PacifiCorp has agreed to a $2.5 million dollar settlement over bird deaths at two of its wind farms in Wyoming.

PacifiCorp pleaded guilty to killing more than 300 birds, including 38 golden eagles. The Department of Justice says the company knew that its turbine siting at the farms outside of Glenrock would result in bird deaths. PacifiCorp spokesman David Eskelsen says the company disputes that characterization, but not the fine. 

“The law is the law and we’re committed to abide by the regulations,”  he said. 

In addition to the fine, PacifiCorp will need to develop a mitigation strategy for the future. But Michael Hutchins with the American Bird Conservatory says it’s not clear mitigation efforts work.

“The best form of mitigation would be proper siting, to get these things away from sensitive areas for birds and bats, so that we don’t have these kinds of conflicts occurring,” he said.

This is the second fine that the federal government has levied against a Wyoming wind company in the last year.

Bird deaths from wind turbines are estimated to number in the hundreds of thousands every year, compared to billions of deaths from cats and millions from collisions with windows and power lines.

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