WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration is letting companies seek authorization to kill and harm bald and golden eagles over 30 years without penalty.
The reason is to aid in renewable energy development.
The wind energy industry asked for the change. It will provide legal protection for wind farms and other projects that get a permit and do everything possible to avoid killing eagles.
Companies already can apply for 5-year permits to injure, harass, or kill bald and golden eagles.
But despite an AP investigation and federal studies documenting eagle deaths, not a single wind energy company has obtained a permit as required by law.
Conservation groups are aligned with the wind industry on other issues.
They say the decision sanctions the killing of an American symbol.