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Wind Farm Files Lawsuit to Hide Bird-Death Data

Nov 19, 2014 05:18 PM EST

It's come to the public's attention that a wind farm company operating in the United States filed a lawsuit last month in an attempt to hide the number of bird deaths that occurred from their energy-saving turbines.

Pacificorp of Portland, Oregon, is seeking an injunction in US District Court in Utah to prevent the Interior Department from releasing this confidential information, The Associated Press (AP) reported.

Wind farms contain clusters of turbines that can reach 30 stories tall and spin up to 170 mph. With spinning rotors creating tornado-like vortexes, it's no wonder that migratory birds, including protected species like the bald eagle, get caught in their line of fire.

Last year, a study surfaced revealing that 573,000 birds and 888,000 bats were being killed each year by wind turbines, more than 30 percent higher than federal government estimates.

This latest lawsuit suggests that that may be in part due to companies like Pacificorp trying to keep their real wind farm birds deaths under wraps.

When the government informed Pacificorp and other similar companies last month of their intent to release this information, Pacificorp then retaliated with a lawsuit filed on Oct. 17. It argued that keeping the number of bird deaths secret was actually in the public's best interest because it will promote "open communication," the AP reports, between it and the government.

However, the government deemed this excuse as "insufficiently convincing."

It's been reported that at least 20 eagle carcasses have been found on Pacificcorp wind farms in Wyoming in recent years - and that's just on one farm. Dozens more deaths have occurred in California, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington and Nevada as well.

The dangers of wind turbines to birds - as well as bats, which confuse them for trees - is not a new issue. Back in May the American Bird Conservatory announced its intent to file a lawsuit when the federal government granted wind farm companies 30-year permits to kill eagles without legal repercussions.

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