Big Wind gets “get out of jail free card” from Obama Administration

If a company or individual violates either the Migratory Bird Treaty Act or the Eagle Protection Act, they could get fined up to $250,000 or get two years imprisonment per incident.  This is, unless they run a wind turbine installation, an industry which collectively kills thousands of birds and bats each year.

Not a single wind farm operator has yet been prosecuted for killing birds, yet in 2009 ExxonMobil was fined $600,000 for killing 85 common ducks and other birds that flew into uncovered tanks on its property.  “BP oil company was fined $100 million for killing and harming migratory birds during the 2010 Gulf oil spill. And PacifiCorp, which operates coal plants in Wyoming, paid more than $10.5 million in 2009 for electrocuting 232 eagles along power lines and at its substations,” according to the AP.

Ron Arnold, of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, quoting a study by Teresa Platt of the National Center for Public Policy Research, notes that “‘Every year since the 1980s the 5,000 turbines at NextEra’s Altamont Pass in California kill thousands of slow-reproducing red-tailed hawks, burrowing owls, kestrels, as well as iconic golden eagles, and bats.’” The birds Platt mentions are raptors – birds of prey – particularly valued for their agricultural role in killing mice and other crop-damaging rodents. Eagles, both golden eagles and bald eagles, have long impressed Americans for their majesty, and the bald eagle was selected by our Founding Fathers as our national emblem.”  See Arnold’s report here.

The American Bird Conservancy says that Altamont alone has killed more than 2,000 golden eagles.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hedges its annual windmill bird death estimates at between 100,000 to 444,000 dead birds in the U.S.

An article from the Associated Press notes “the administration has never fined or prosecuted a wind-energy company, even those that flout the law repeatedly. Instead, the government is shielding the industry from liability and helping keep the scope of the deaths secret.”  “The result is a green industry that’s allowed to do not-so-green things. It kills protected species with impunity and conceals the environmental consequences of sprawling wind farms.”   “Nearly all the birds being killed are protected under federal environmental laws, which prosecutors have used to generate tens of millions of dollars in fines and settlements from businesses, including oil and gas companies, over the past five years.”

The failure to enforce the law evenly for all energy producers clearly shows that the Obama administration has a double standard when it comes to his much touted “green energy” projects.

See also:

Wind turbines versus wildlife

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3 comments

  1. Shhhh-hhhh. Not supposed to wreck the goodness of wind energy, just like nobody is supposed to point out how huge multi-acre solar arrays in the southwest will spoil the habitat of rare desert tortoises and other such wildlife.

  2. Altamont is the worst site because they are old smaller turbines and the blades spin much faster. This site will soon be replaced with larger more efficient turbines, which will require far fewer turbines to be constructed.

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