A conservation group working to protect birds sued two Interior Department agencies in late June under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The American Bird Conservancy (ABC) claims that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the Bureau of Indian Affairs are suppressing information on the effects of wind power development on wild birds and bats in California and nine other states.
In a June 26 press release, ABC claimed that it filed six FOIA requests with FWS for information on wildlife impacts from wind development in 2011. FWS referred one of the requests to the BIA. Under FOIA, the agencies are required to either provide the information or claim exemptions within 20 days of receiving formal requests.
"It's ridiculous that Americans have to sue in order to find out what their government is saying to wind companies about our wildlife -- a public trust," said Kelly Fuller, Wind Campaign Coordinator for the American Bird Conservancy (ABC). "ABC is concerned that many of these projects have the potential to take a devastating toll on songbirds, majestic eagles, and threatened and endangered species," she added. California birds at issue include bald and golden eagles and the greater sage-grouse.