Yesterday, the Air National Guard announced that in response to a letter our firm sent on January 7th on behalf of two leading bird protection organizations – the American Bird Conservancy and the Black Swamp Bird Observatory – the Air National Guard has indefinitely withdrawn its decision to construct and operate a wind turbine near Lake Erie in a critically sensitive migratory flyway for bald eagles and more than 300 bird species. Our letter constituted a formal notice of intent to sue to the Air National Guard for violations of the Endangered Species Act, Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and National Environmental Policy Act, particularly in light of Air National Guard’s refusal to adopt the expert recommendations of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Ohio Division of Natural Resources to avoid siting any wind turbines in this critically sensitive location for, or to at least minimize impacts to, federally endangered Kirtland’s warblers and piping plovers, bald eagles, and many other bird species that migrate through the project’s air space. Additional media on this victory can be found here: http://www.abcbirds.org/newsandreports/releases/140129.html
Thursday, January 30, 2014
Friday, January 17, 2014
On behalf of various conservation organizations, we reached a settlement with the California Department of Transportation ("Caltrans") concerning that agency’s construction activities at two bridges where a large colony of cliff swallows have nested after completing their six-thousand mile sojourn from South America. Last year, loose netting placed at the bridges trapped and killed large numbers of swallows and other migratory birds in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. In response to subsequent litigation we filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Caltrans has now agreed, among other items, to remove all exclusionary netting from the bridges; wherever feasible, to use hard surface exclusionary materials to prevent birds from nesting on areas under construction; and to demolish the existing bridges outside the swallow nesting season. A copy of the press release announcing the settlement is here.
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Air National Guard Put on Notice of Legal Violations for Siting Wind Energy Turbine in High-Risk Location for Eagles and Migratory Birds
Yesterday, on behalf of two leading bird protection organizations – the American Bird Conservancy and the Black Swamp Bird Observatory -- we sent a formal notice of intent to sue to the Air National Guard at Camp Perry in Ohio for rampant violations of the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”), Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and National Environmental Policy Act. Despite repeated requests from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Ohio Division of Natural Resources to avoid siting any wind turbines in this critically sensitive location for federally endangered Kirtland’s warblers and piping plovers, bald eagles, and more than three hundred species of migratory birds, the Air National Guard disregarded the advice and recommendations of the expert wildlife agencies. Instead, the Air National Guard refused to engage in formal consultation with the Service under the ESA concerning the federally endangered species, and has refused to seek – much less obtain – an eagle take permit or migratory bird take authorization from the Service before constructing and operating the project. As a federal agency, the Air National Guard’s refusal to comply with governing legal mandates not only sets a bad precedent for other renewable energy projects, but also underscores why an environmental impact statement was required for this project – an analysis which the Air National Guard failed to conduct. The letter can be viewed here.