The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has finalized a programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) that analyzes the potential impacts of a proposed revision to bald and golden eagle take permits. Proposed in May 2016, the revision would extend the maximum duration of take permits, which authorize energy projects to incidentally harass, harm, or kill eagles, from 5 to 30 years. Energy developers would be required to minimize impacts on eagles whenever possible and commit to compensatory mitigation measures.
This is the second time USFWS has proposed this revision: the first 30-year take permit rule was finalized in 2013. A district court, however, overturned the rule last year, finding that USFWS violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) when the agency determined the permit revisions were categorically excluded from NEPA review. This month’s final PEIS is expected to address some of the concerns raised in the court ruling, thereby advancing the efforts to finalize the permit revisions.
Read more about 30-year take rule and the court decision.
Update, Dec. 14: USFWS has issued a final rule revising bald and golden eagle take permits.