The U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources, led by Doc Hastings, R-Wash., has sent the Obama administration a subpoena seeking uncensored copies of emails and other internal documents related to the enforcement of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA). The subpoena comes in advance of an oversight hearing into whether the administration is favoring wind farms when implementing the environmental laws.
‘There are serious concerns that the Obama administration is implementing these laws in an arbitrary fashion based on an undefined definition of "cooperation' from affected parties,’ says Hastings. ‘The administration has repeatedly chosen to only prosecute select violations of these strict liability acts, and our goal is to gain a better understanding of how and why these enforcement decisions are made and what defines "cooperation' to the administration."
In November 2013, the US. Department of Justice issued the first and only criminal enforcement action against the wind industry under the MBTA or the BGEPA to date. Duke Energy Renewables Inc. entered into a $1 million plea agreement in connection with the deaths of protected migratory birds and golden eagles at two wind energy projects in Wyoming.
Following the November announcement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said that no one is exempt from the environmental laws: "[W]e will continue to investigate and refer for prosecution cases in which companies – in any sector, including the wind industry – fail to comply with the laws that protect the public's wildlife resources."