Here is an real video of a bird collision with a wind turbine. The video is not edited and is graphic, so please be advised.
Massive solar power plants and wind turbines are killing birds and bats in large numbers, but the Obama Administration is not disturbed. In Appalachia, the administration imposes strict standards on the amount of salt in streams below coal mines because it may (or may not) have an adverse effect on mayflies and other flies, but hundreds of thousands of birds and bats are killed every year by solar and wind facilities and the Obama administration shrugs it off. In fact, they give permits to companies to do so.
A wind facility in Nevada is killing 3 times the number of bats allowed under an agreement by Obama Administration regulators and massive solar facilities are incinerating up to an estimated 28,000 birds per year using sophisticated solar technology. The Obama “administration has made clear that they’re not going to let a few whimpering hippies stand in the way of progress.” To the Obama Administration, wind and solar power, no matter what the cost, is progress.
Two former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service investigators tell National Review Online that the federal government acted with a bias, giving renewable-energy companies a pass on unlawful bird deaths while rigorously prosecuting traditional energy companies for the same infractions.
“If birds were electrocuted or in oil pits, we prosecuted those companies,” says Tim Eicher, a special agent who handled cases involving migratory birds, eagles, and endangered species until his retirement three years ago. But the Fish and Wildlife Service “has drunk the Kool-Aid on global warming,” Eicher tells NRO. When it comes to wind- and solar-energy companies, “the end, to them, justifies the means: They’re saving the planet, and if eagles die in the process, so be it.”
Dominic Domenici, a former Fish and Wildlife Service investigator who worked with Eicher in Wyoming, says the bias is obvious because, when unlawful bird deaths occur, the federal government “prosecutes everything except for wind and solar — and they give [those renewable companies] permits” for bird-killing. That bias, Domenici says, is “top-down” within the Fish and Wildlife Service.
Birds singed in midair by a solar thermal power plant in the Mojave Desert — known as “streamers” for the smoke plume they emit — viscerally highlight the reality that the quest for energy almost always causes some form of environmental harm, even through technologies considered green and clean.
The same power plant that’s creating streamers was nearly derailed due to concerns about its potential impact on habitat for rare desert tortoises, for example. Wind power projects routinely kill birds and ruffle residents within their eyesight with concerns about visual blight. Geothermal energy projects have rattled nerves over elevated earthquake risks. Hydroelectric dams drove salmon runs to extinction.
“There are sacrifices that every technology has and the question is how visible those are,” Nathan Lee, a graduate student and researcher with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Energy Initiative who is developing a course on the ethics of energy policy with his adviser Lucas Stanczyk, told NBC News. “In the case of the birds getting singed by giant towers, it’s pretty visible and understandably it is therefore probably more upsetting than the quieter ways in which energy technologies cause a lot of harm.”
In a nine-page comment letter, American Bird Conservancy (ABC) not only raises numerous objections to the 30-year eagle take rule but offers an 18-point plan the organization says constitutes a scientifically credible, transparent permitting process for wind energy development.
ABC’s comments were submitted to FWS as part of the agency’s effort to engage the public in a revised process for issuing permits for non-purposeful take—or accidental harm or killing—of Bald and Golden Eagles. These regulations under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA) relate to permits where the take of eagles is associated with, but not the purpose of, otherwise lawful activities.
“If there is one thing recent months have shown us, it is that some in the wind industry have shown little to no respect for or adherence to the voluntary regulatory guidelines now in place,” said Dr. Michael Hutchins, ABC’s National Coordinator, Bird Smart Wind Energy Campaign. “Wind energy developments are going up in places they never should have and with little to no consideration for our native birds and bats. As a result, we are calling for an end to the voluntary approach and for the establishment of mandatory guidelines, among other things, to better regulate the industry.”
California entrepreneurs saw potential in the gusty winds that blew out at the Altamont Pass, between the Central Valley and Bay Area. By the mid-’80s, the Altamont was the country’s biggest wind farm. To many, the turbines were more than a new technology. They were symbols of hope, a sign of progress and a world that no longer relied on fossil fuels.
But fast forward 30 years and the Altamont is a blight on the reputation of the burgeoning wind industry. The turbines have killed more than a hundred thousand birds.
Wildlife biologist Doug Bell knows the Altamont intimately. Since 2005, he’s carried out wildlife studies for the East Bay Regional Parks District.
Mill Creek wind farm has the potential to be more than the largest wind farm in Missouri. It also could be disruptive to migratory birds and impact the Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge.
Element Power of Portland, Ore., which is developing Mill Creek, proposes erecting more than100 wind turbines in a 30,000-acre area in Holt County. The project area lies east of Squaw Creek between seven conservation areas.
This part of our region is a vibrant bird conservation area, with about 300 different species of birds annually flying through the refuge. Bald eagles and waterfowl are among the annual visitors.
Rotating wind turbines could cause trouble for these birds and native bats. Conservation groups have raised formal complaints, saying they are worried the wildlife could be killed or would have to change flight patterns to adapt.
Raising the flag of the Endangered Species Act is a contentious issue in Holt County, which has been hard hit by flooding and river management issues of the Missouri River related to species protection. The wind farm could bring economic vitality to the county, projecting to hire 300 workers during construction, with 12 to 14 permanent jobs created once it is operating. Local landowners would profit from having a turbine on their property.
The intolerance of dissenting views by the Green Lobby is an unpleasant aspect of some of its members. They are perhaps unaware that tolerance of difference is a pillar of democracy and essential to individual freedom. But, whatever the reasons for vitriolic attacks on those against wind generators, environmentalists should take a closer look at Scottish opposition.
The most prominent in Scotland is the Windfarm Action Group. This group firmly states that everyone should take environmental responsibilities seriously. Whatever the causes of global warming and the varying views on what causes it, we must protect our earth and steward it wisely. It accepts a need to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. It wants cleaner, reliable energy. It supports sound scientific solutions with the goal of a cleaner, greener world.
No sane, sensible person can disagree with this. Even the most rabid environmentalist should agree too.
But this green group and 300 others like in Britain, plus another 400 in four EU countries, are against windfarms. They have gone into the subject thoroughly and engineers and scientists back up their conclusions.
To those who accuse them of merely being concerned with their own backyards and not the common good, they say add up our membership and you will find an awful lot of backyards. They are simply against what does not make good sense. They are convinced that wind power:
- Is not a technically legitimate solution.
- Does not meaningfully reduce CO2 emissions.
- Is not a commercially viable source of energy
- Is not environmentally responsible.
They believe there are better solutions to Britain’s energy concerns; solutions that meet scientific, economic, and environmental tests – and they have good reasons.
Paul Domski is a falconer and a bird lover. And he really doesn’t like wind farms or the federal government’s recent decision to protect wind energy companies for up to 30 years for killing eagles.
“If I was the country’s energy czar I’d get rid of (wind farms),” said Domski, who is also the Mountain Region director of the North American Falconers Association. “From an avian standpoint, from a biological standpoint, they’re a disaster.”
Domski was one of a few dozen people to show up Tuesday night at a “public scoping meeting” on eagle management by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service — one of five meetings the agency is hosting across the country to gather comments about possible changes to the agency’s regulations.
One of the hottest topics is the 30-year permit the USFWS approved last December.