A subsidiary of one of the largest U.S. providers of renewable energy pleaded guilty to criminal charges and was ordered to pay over $8 million in fines and restitution after at least 150 eagles were killed at its wind farms in eight states, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.
NextEra Energy subsidiary ESI Energy was also sentenced to five years probation after being charged with three counts of violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act during a court appearance in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The charges arose from the deaths of nine eagles at three wind farms in Wyoming and New Mexico.
In addition to those deaths, the company acknowledged the deaths of golden and bald eagles at 50 wind farms affiliated with ESI and NextEra since 2012, prosecutors said. Birds were killed in eight states: Wyoming, New Mexico, North Dakota, Colorado, Michigan, Arizona, Illinois and California.
“This prosecution and the restitution it secures will protect the ecologically vital and majestic natural resources of our bald eagle and golden eagle populations,” U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert for the Eastern District of California said in a statement.