By Noaki Schwartz and Jason Dearen, Associated Press
Apple Valley, Calif. (AP) – Fears that whirling wind turbines could slaughter protected golden eagles have halted progress on a key piece of the federal government’s push to increase renewable energy on public lands, stalling plans for billions of dollars in wind farm developments.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management suspended issuing wind permits on public land indefinitely this summer after wildlife officials invoked a decades-old law for protecting eagles, according to interviews and documents obtained by The Associated Press.
The restriction has stymied efforts to “fast-track” approvals for four of the seven most promising wind energy proposals in the nation, including all three in California.
Now, these and other projects appear unlikely to make the year-end deadline to potentially qualify for hundreds of millions of dollars in stimulus funds. If extensions aren’t granted in the lame duck session of Congress, the future of many of these plans could be in doubt. (more…)