Migratory Bird Treaty

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) (16 USC §§ 703-712) establishes provisions for the protection of migratory birds. The MBTA forbids anyone "at any time, by any means, or in any manner, to pursue, hunt take, capture, kill [or] any part, nest, or eggs of any such bird.." (16 USC § 703(a)). The MBTA is distinct from the ESA because it protects migratory bird species that are not necessarily threatened or endangered. Over 800 species of migratory birds are protected by the MBTA (50 CFR 10.13). The FWS implements and enforces the MBTA.

Several principal aspects of wind energy project development, including site clearing and wind turbine operation, are subject to the provisions of the MBTA. Consultation with the FWS regarding MBTA compliance and permitting can happen concurrently with the FWS review of impacts on protected species under the ESA.

However, the MBTA is a strict liability statue and does not provide for permits similar to an ITP to cover accidental impacts from a win< project. Knowledge or intent is not required to be liable under the MBTA. (16 USC § 707(a)). Courts have held that even the accidental killing of a migratory bird can be a criminal act under this law. Proactive measures, such as involving the FWS early in project development, would minimize the risk of mortality and avoid costly enforcement.

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Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

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