By Charles and Laurie Baker, Santee
Photo: Bald eagle at Lake Cuyamaca
September 6, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--We are writing this letter because we are opposed to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service possibly granting 30-year Bald and Golden Eagle Permits to companies who build wind and solar farms. NO permits, especially those for 30 years, should be granted to these so-called "green" energy farms. They harm eagles, didn't study the impacts, and violate Federal laws.
My husband and I have been fortunate to observe and photograph both Bald and Golden Eagles majestically soaring overhead while hiking on public land in the backcountry of San Diego County. We were thrilled because there aren't very many eagles left in our area. Their populations are already dwindling, and building even more wind or solar farms will contribute to their demise. Will we, and future generations, be able to continue to enjoy observing eagles on future hiking trips in this area?
Dave Bittner of the Wildlife Research Institute in San Diego where we live, was convicted of mishandling eagles, lack of permits, and failure to turn over tracking data. Dave Bittner's fraudulent information was used in reports for two wind farms we were opposed to that were approved. One has already been built in the desert community of Ocotillo in Imperial County. The other one, named Tule Wind, will be built in eastern San Diego County. Tule Wind is in McCain Valley, north of Hwy. 8, which is where we observed and photographed a pair of Golden Eagles . . . twice . . . three weeks apart. Why was Tule Wind approved to be built in this area despite the FACT that Golden Eagles live there and use it to forage for food?
Knowing that people like Dave Bittner sold out to large companies, leads the public to view these companies as partners in lying, hiding information, rigging studies and surveys, and first degree animal cruelty. Some government agencies who approve their projects or private organizations who are beneficiaries of their "mitigating measures" also seem subject to corruption. Is there a way to prevent this corruption?
In addition, vast amounts of land is being destroyed despite opposition from the public, who happen to own a lot of it, to build these wind and solar farms that Bald and Golden Eagles, along with other wildlife, live in and use to forage for food.
WE CAN DO BETTER THAN THIS!!!
Preserving and protecting irreplaceable public assets, like Bald and Golden Eagles, should remain the FIRST priority of those entrusted by the public to do so. "Overriding considerations" should NOT trump the requirements of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
Editor’s note: For readers who wish to submit comments on this to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, the deadline is September 22, 2014. Comments may be submitted online at http://www.regulations.gov, FWS-R2-MB-2011-0094 or by U.S. mail to Public Comments Processing, Attention: Eagle Management and Permitting FWS-R2-MB-2011-0094; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 North Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM, Arlington, VA 22203.
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