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USFWS 30-Year Eagle Take Permit Challenged in Federal Court 

The advocacy group American Bird Conservancy has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, asking the court to invalidate a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rule that increased the shelf life of take permits available under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act from five to 30 years.  USFWS created take permits under BGEPA in 2009 to allow developers and other entities to carry out activities that might incidentally harm protected eagles.    

The suit, filed in San Jose on June 19, claims that the 30-year permit rule was adopted in violation of NEPA because no environmental assessment (EA) or environmental impact statement (EIS) was performed (USFWS states that the rule is primarily administrative and therefore exempted from NEPA) and in violation of BGEPA because the rule was purportedly adopted to benefit wind energy development rather than to further the purpose of BGEPA, which is to protect bald and golden eagles.  To date, no BGEPA incidental take permits of any duration have been issued.     

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