Eagle kills now legal

Wind enthusiasts have been known to claim that the days of turbines killing raptors were limited to a few bad years at Altamont. But in A Struggle to Balance Wind Energy With Wildlife, the NY Times – which no longer has an environmental blog – writes:

…. a new federal rule was announced this month allowing wind farms to lawfully kill bald and golden eagles under 30-year permits.

So now it is perfectly legal for them to kill all the raptors and owls they supposedly weren’t killing before. Except that they were:

Last month, in the first case of its kind, Duke Energy agreed to pay $1 million in fines after a subsidiary pleaded guilty in federal court in Wyoming to violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The company was charged with killing dozens of birds since 2009, including 14 golden eagles, at two Wyoming wind farm projects.

According to the Times article, only wind farms that have “minimized risk” through siting and design will be issued a permit to kill eagles, but a Master Resource report from March notes:

… the wind industry pretty much knew that there was little that could be done to make its propeller-style turbines safe for raptors. With exposed blade tips spinning in open space at speeds up to 200 mph, it was impossible. Wind developers also knew they would have a public relations nightmare if people ever learned how many eagles are actually being cut in half – or left with a smashed wing, to stumble around for days before dying.

To hide this inconvenient truth, strict wind farm operating guidelines were established – including high security around turbines, gag orders in agreements, and the prevention of accurate, meaningful mortality studies.

Some three decades later, the wind developers’ hide-the-problem strategy has largely hidden the avian mortality problem. While the public has some understanding that birds are killed by wind turbines, it doesn’t have a clue about the real mortality numbers.

And even if the public did know, chances are they’d choose electricity over eagles.

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2 responses to “Eagle kills now legal”

  1. Jim Wiegand says :

    A recent AP article about eagles and the wind industry reads as follows:
    “Under pressure from the wind-power industry, the Obama administration said Friday it will allow companies to kill or injure eagles without the fear of prosecution for up to three decades.
    The new rule is designed to address environmental consequences that stand in the way of the nation’s wind energy rush: the dozens of bald and golden eagles killed each year by the giant, spinning blades of wind turbines.
    An investigation by the Associated Press earlier this year documented the illegal killing of eagles around wind farms, the Obama administration’s reluctance to prosecute such cases and its willingness to help keep the scope of the eagle deaths secret. President Obama championed this pollution – free energy, nearly doubling America’s wind power in his first term.
    The new rule will provide legal protection for the life span of wind farms if companies obtain permits and make efforts to avoid killing protected birds.
    Conservation groups said the decision by the Interior Department sanctions the killing of an American icon.”

    Here is the Truth……….The new rules are designed to side step or rig the process so the wind industry is free from any environmental consequences that stand in the way of their gold rush.

    Despite what the President and wind energy supporters claim these turbines will not be saving this planet from climate change. The reason is because wind turbine generated energy does not even cover the world’s annual increase in energy consumption and increased production from other sources. State mandates for renewable energy are all absurd because this lousy source of energy will never catch up to 20, 25, or even 33% of consumption. So despite the propaganda and hype of being the fastest growing energy segment, these turbines are losing ground and enough can not be installed. It is time that our leaders stopped lying to the public about all this and stopped wasting precious taxpayer dollars on this highly destructive non-solution.

    At this time, no other energy source is as destructive and every other energy source is a better choice better than wind energy. These turbines have only been around about 3 decades and in this short amount of time no other energy source is even close to driving species to extinction as quickly as these wind turbines.

    People had better wake up because all this goes much deeper than you can imagine. It won’t stop with the killing of eagles and stealing tax dollars

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    • Donal says :

      I don’t fear wind as much as I fear nuclear and coal. Wind (and solar) could be implemented at a small scale with very little risk to people or animals. Instead they are trying to keep an unsustainable power grid going and behaving much like the fossil fuel industry they claim to be supplanting.

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