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Feds may allow wind-farm developers to kill golden eagles

A wind-power development company in Oregon may be allowed to kill golden eagles because of a permit by the federal government, MSNBC reports.

The permit, which is the first of its kind, was proposed in a draft environmental assessment by the Interior Department's Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday. The assessment states that the company, West Butte Wind Power LLC could kill as many as three of these protected eagles over five years if they fulfill their commitments to conservation, the news source reports.

The proposal is the first to be suggested against the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, which was enacted in 1940 to prohibit anyone from killing or disturbing golden or bald eagles without a permit from the federal government.

The permit is allowed to be applied for under a 2009 regulation that enabled the agency to authorize and forgive in advance the "taking" of the birds during an otherwise lawful act. In this case, the company is assuming some eagles may be hit and killed by the wind turbines' blades.

However, the permit also stipulates that the company must make up for any net loss to the overall breeding population - that is, for every one eagle killed, the developers must contribute to conservation efforts in the species' best interest. 
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