By Josephine Marcotty, StarTribune.com
Turbines planned near Red Wing would endanger protected species.
A controversial wind farm proposed near Red Wing plans to ask for federal permission to legally kill eagles, making it one of the first in the nation to participate in a new federal strategy aimed at managing the often-lethal conflict between birds and turbine blades.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials say they urged the developers of AWA Goodhue Wind to seek the new permit because the deaths of an unknown number of eagles and endangered golden eagles will be inevitable once the 50-turbine project is up and running.
The process for such "incidental take" permits was devised in 2009 as a compromise between the demand for clean energy from the growing number of wind farms and the rising concern over the estimated hundreds of thousands of birds and bats that they kill every year.
The 18.75-square-mile site in Goodhue County is home to a number of nesting eagles, and many more migrate through the area every year. There also have been sightings of two rare and endangered golden eagles, which come down from Canada to winter along the Mississippi River bluffs in southeastern Minnesota.