Windfarm Settlement (US)

Duke Energy agreed in November to pay $1 million in fines as part of the federal Justice Department’s first criminal case against a wind power company for the deaths of protected birds.

The report in the New York Times identifies it is Duke Energy’s subsidiary, Duke Energy Renewables, that has pleaded guilty in the Federal District Court in Wyoming to violating the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The company was charged with killing 14 golden eagles and dozens of other birds at two wind projects in Wyoming since 2009.

Per the New York Times – in the plea agreement, the company said it would pay the fines to several conservation groups, including the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. It also must put in place a plan to prevent bird deaths in future.

“In this plea agreement, Duke Energy Renewables acknowledges that it constructed these wind projects in a manner it knew beforehand would likely result in avian deaths,” Robert G. Dreher, the acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s environment and natural resources division, said in a statement.