Pacificorp Claims the Birds Its Turbines Kill Are Trade Secret

November 19, 2014

Power company Pacificorp has gone to court to prevent the Interior Department from disclosing how many birds are found dead at its wind-energy turbine sites.

Associated Press reporter Dina Cappiello has been writing an investigative series on the birds, including eagles, killed at wind farms in the United States. The series found that federal regulators have not prosecuted or penalized wind-energy companies when their turbines kill birds. Moreover, Cappiello found, the government has helped keep the scope of bird mortality secret.

In March 2013, the AP's Cappiello filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking information collected under U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (in the Interior Department) permits about dead birds found at Pacificorp facilities. Pacificorp runs wind farms in three western states and claims to be the second-largest wind generator in the U.S.

Pacificorp and other companies claimed the information on bird deaths was confidential. When the Interior Department said it found these claims "insufficiently convincing" to keep the information secret, Pacificorp filed a request October 17, 2014, in a U.S. District Court in Utah seeking an injunction preventing the government from disclosing the bird death data.

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