Target: Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell
Goal: Don’t allow private companies to obtain thirty-year permits to kill eagles
A newly proposed law could severely weaken protection for two of the United States most iconic birds: the Golden Eagle and the Bald Eagle. Private companies, namely members of the wind energy industry, are pushing to expand the length of time on permits that already allow companies to unintentionally kill a limited amount of eagles as part of normal operations. Currently, these permits have an expiration date of five years, and also require that companies who do accidentally kill eagles take part in various compensation actions to offset the damage. The new law would allow these “eagle take” permits to last up to thirty years without renewal.
In the United States, eagles are protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. “Take” permits are required for any company that not only accidentally kills eagles through normal business operations, but also include “wounding, trapping, capturing, hunting, harassing or disturbing nests.” Every five years, a permit is reviewed and only renewed if the government sees reason to do so. Furthermore, the public is granted access to the renewal process and allowed to voice opinions and ideas. By extending permit tenure to thirty years, the new law would essentially eliminate the renewal process altogether.
A thirty-year permit to unintentionally kill eagles has raised some serious concerns amongst environmentalists. Despite certain stipulations of the new rule, including the fact that not all permits will be issued for the full thirty years and each case will be reviewed individually before a permit is granted, conservationists fear that any amount of time longer than five years can be too long to accurately evaluate changes in eagle populations. The five-year rule was originally set in place due to “factors [that] may change over a longer period of time such that a [take permit] authorized much earlier would later be incompatible with the preservation of the Bald Eagle or the Golden Eagle.” In other words, the original law set a five-year limit on these permits in order to allow for long-term factors that could negatively affect eagle population. Extending the length of permits from five to thirty years could potentially have drastic, negative effects on eagles in the United States, and these issues would not be fully evaluated until it is too late to reverse them.
Urge the United States Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, to carefully evaluate this new law on eagle take permits, and ask that she reject a thirty-year tenure on permits as it could have potentially devastating impact on eagle populations.
Dear Secretary Sally Jewell,
Eagles have long been a symbol of our country, and have been protected by federal laws accordingly. Now, our nation’s most powerful symbol faces a threat to its survival.
A newly proposed law to extend the length of eagle take permits from five to thirty years severely weakens eagle protection by essentially eliminating a renewal process. The current renewal process for these five-year permits allows the government and the public to discern whether a specific company truly needs a permit, and to issue or revoke permits based on this information. Furthermore, it allows for continual evaluation of eagle populations in the United States.
By creating a new rule that would allow permits to last up to thirty years before requiring assessment or renewal, the government will allow an unprecedented threat to the nation’s eagles. Various, unknown factors could easily alter a company’s need for a permit, and to fail to evaluate these changes could lead to devastating effects on eagle population.
Please reconsider this new law carefully. I urge you to reject the proposed thirty-year tenure of eagle take permits, as the negative effects are simply too varied to properly evaluate.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Tony Hisgett via Wikimedia