Extended Programmatic Permits Available for the Take of Eagles

The United States Department of the Interior Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) recently issued a final rule revising the regulations for permits for take of golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) and bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) that is associated with, but not the purpose of, an otherwise lawful activity.  78 FR 73704 (Dec. 9, 2013).  Absent a permit the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (16 U.S.C. 668-668d) (Eagle Act or BGEPA) prohibits take of bald eagles and golden eagles.  The maximum term for programmatic permits has been extended from 5 years to 30 years.  However, administrative fees will be collected at permit issuance and every 5 years thereafter.

“Programmatic take” of eagles is defined at 50 CFR 22.3 as “take that is recurring, is not caused solely by indirect effects, and that occurs over the long term or in a location or locations that cannot be specifically identified.” Id. at 73704.  Programmatic permits authorize recurring take that is unavoidable even after implementation of Advanced Conservation Practices (ACPs).    These permits authorize activities associated with the generation of electricity, including wind turbines and powerline electrocutions, along with other activities.

Laura Goldfarb helps clients resolve their environmental policy, regulation, and enforcement problems. Prior to joining Steptoe & Johnson, Ms. Goldfarb was Assistant Counsel at the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, where she represented the agency in a variety of matters relating to the state's environmental programs, and drafted regulatory and statutory environmental provisions for the State of West Virginia.
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