Monday, March 12, 2012

Slaughtering Wildlife in the Name of Green Energy

Seventy Golden eagles are killed annually at a single wind turbine site in California. Yet there are no fines, no jail time, no demands from enviros to shut them down. Bald eagles, osprey, and peregrine falcons nest comfortably and successfully in close proximity to both coal and nuclear power plants all up and down the Susquehanna river in Pennsylvania, but in Altamont California flying close to "green" energy sources is suicide for raptors:
Over the past two decades, the federal government has prosecuted hundreds of cases against oil and gas producers and electricity producers for violating some of America’s oldest wildlife-protection laws: the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Eagle Protection Act.

But the Obama administration — like the Bush administration before it — has never prosecuted the wind industry despite myriad examples of widespread, unpermitted bird kills by turbines. A violation of either law can result in a fine of up to $250,000 and imprisonment for two years...

Last June, the Los Angeles Times reported that about 70 golden eagles are being killed per year by the wind turbines at Altamont Pass, about 20 miles east of Oakland, Calif. A 2008 study funded by the Alameda County Community Development Agency estimated that about 2,400 raptors, including burrowing owls, American kestrels, and red-tailed hawks—as well as about 7,500 other birds, nearly all of which are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act—are being killed every year by the turbines at Altamont.

...Bats are getting whacked, too. The Pennsylvania Game Commission estimates that wind turbines killed more than 10,000 bats in the state in 2010.

Despite the deleterious effect that the windmills are having on wildlife, the wind industry is pushing to keep both its carte blanche and generous subsidies. According to Eric Glitzenstein, a Washington D.C.-based lawyer who wrote a petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, “It‘s absolutely clear that there’s been a mandate from the top” not to prosecute the wind industry for violating wildlife laws. “To me,” he said, “that’s appalling public policy.”
It's a good thing for the wind industry that they slaughter their birds without using hydraulic fracking or oil pipelines. If they did they'd have been shut down years ago, but since they don't use fossil fuels they can continue to dispatch eagles as fast as they please and nothing will be done to stop them.

And don't bother calling the EPA, by the way. They're too busy trying to find ways to shut down the gas drilling industry in Pennsylvania, an industry which in some five or six decades has not killed a single eagle.