I'm also not going to get into the fact that it appears different federal courts have different "feelings" about this issue. This is not an issue the Supreme Court will ever take up.
All I'm going to do is post the story for the archives, and suggest that this was a huge win for utilities, the Koch Brothers, the oil and gas industry, and a huge loss for the US FIsh and Wildlife Service, for Ducks Unlimited, for the Sierra Club.
The AP is reporting that wind turbines have carte blanche when it comes to slicing and dicing migratory birds:
Companies accused of causing migratory bird deaths may be harder to successfully prosecute after a federal appeals court recently ruled that a century-old wildlife protection law only applies if the killing is intentional.
The decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals runs contrary to two other federal courts' interpretations of the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act and could save companies that operate wind farms, power transmission lines and other methods of energy production millions in research — at the risk of more bird deaths.
"If you have a dead migratory bird, you have a violation. Doesn't matter how, why or when; that's historically been the government's interpretation," said Barry Hartman of K&L Gates, a Washington law firm that represents Duke Energy Corp. "And what the court is saying is that interpretation doesn't extend to unintentional takes."
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has maintained that no intent is required to violate the law, which makes it illegal to "pursue, hunt, take, capture" or "kill" more than 1,000 bird species. But companies have long claimed they should not be held responsible for actions that incidentally cause deaths — up to about a half-million annually by wind turbines alone, the federal agency says.
It was my understanding that President Obama had already provided "top cover" for wind farms with regard to slicing and dicing. I guess this case just provided more clarity.
I doubt we've heard the last on this one.