Eagle death at Nevada wind farm brings federal scrutiny

A single dead eagle could spell trouble for a White Pine County wind farm that sells power to NV Energy.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is conducting an investigation after a golden eagle was killed in late February at the Spring Valley Wind Farm, about 300 miles north of Las Vegas.

San Francisco-based Pattern Energy, which owns the 152-megawatt wind energy project, reported the dead bird and turned it over to federal authorities within 36 hours of its discovery.

“They did all the things they were supposed to because of an eagle death,” said Jeannie Stafford, spokeswoman for the Fish and Wildlife Service in Nevada.

Even so, the wind farm could face a fine of up to $200,000 because it does not hold a federal “take” permit that would allow the incidental death of a golden or bald eagle.

Stafford said the matter is under investigation by the service’s Office of Law Enforcement.

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