SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – The Center for Biological Diversity can sue to protect raptors and eagles that are dying by the thousands in wind turbine generators, but must redirect its lawsuit against turbine owners to the public agencies responsible for protecting wildlife, a California appeals court ruled.
The court affirmed dismissal of the center’s lawsuit against the owners and operators of 5,000 wind turbine electrical generators in the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.
Justice Pollack stressed that wildlife, including birds, is considered a public trust resource, and that private parties can sue to enforce the public trust.
However, the court noted that the public agencies responsible for protecting these trust resources, specifically the Department of Fish and Game, “have taken action to do so.”
“The proper means to challenge the adequacy of those measures is by petition for a writ of mandate or request for other appropriate relief brought against those agencies,” Pollack wrote.
“Permitting the action to proceed as presented would require the court to make complex and delicate balancing judgments without the benefit of the expertise of the agencies responsible for protecting the trust resources and would threaten redundancy at best and inconsistency at worst.”
The plaintiff had argued that since the 1980s, the wind turbines in Altamont Pass have killed “tens of thousands” of birds, including up to 26,000 raptors, more than a thousand golden eagles and thousands of hawks. It urged the defendants to update their equipment, claiming that the “vast majority” of generators are inefficient and obsolete, and that newer generators would produce more energy and kill fewer birds.