This story will really conflict you green energy advocates
The federal government last August imposed hefty fines on seven petroleum companies in North Dakota over the death of 28 birds near their open waste pits.
The wind farms championed by promoters of “green energy,” by comparison, kill more than 400,000 birds a year — including dozens of eagles — yet they pay not a penny in fines.
“Team Obama wants to give wind-power companies long-term permits to butcher bald eagles, America’s national symbol, on the altar of green energy,” writes Deroy Murdock, a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) disclosed: “With more than 100,000 turbines expected to be in operation in the United States by 2030, annual bird mortality rates alone (now estimated at 440,000 a year) are expected to exceed one million.”
Among those avian victims are bald eagles and golden eagles that fly into the turbine blades revolving at up to 200 miles per hour.
Determining an exact count for dead eagles is difficult because other animals may eat the carcasses, but 67 golden eagles are estimated to die annually at just one California wind farm, at Altamont Pass. Overall, the toll could surpass 500 golden eagles a year at wind farms in the eagles’ habitat in the western United States.
But a 2009 Obama-era law allows wind farms and others to kill eagles if the harm is unintentional. This loophole lets wind companies escape “the penalties that can befall those with eagle blood on their hands but without political connections,” notes Murdock, a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service whose article appeared on National Review Online.
First-time violators of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act can receive $5,000 fines and a one-year prison sentence, and second offenses can double those punishments — with wind farms exempt.
Three years ago, following an FWS investigation, PacifiCorp paid $10.5 million in fines after 232 golden eagles and other protected birds were electrocuted when they landed on its power lines in Wyoming during a 2½-year period.
In the North Dakota case, an Obama-appointed U.S. attorney brought charges against the oil companies for the deaths of mallard ducks and other birds that mistook open waste pits for natural ponds. Facing fines of at least $15,000 per bird and six months in jail, the companies pleaded guilty and agreed to pay $1,000 per bird, although a federal judge later dismissed the case.
Last July, the FWS took enforcement to a new level of absurdity by threatening to impose a fine of $535, plus imprisonment, on the mother of an 11-year-old girl in Virginia accused of illegally possessing a woodpecker she saved from a hungry cat and soon released. The woodpecker is a protected species under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
But after the story garnered national attention, the FWS decided the situation was a “misunderstanding” and withdrew charges, according to a Heritage Foundation report.
Murdock concludes: “If bald eagles dropped dead beside oil derricks, Washington would pound the petroleum industry. Instead, wind propellers chop bald eagles in half. Team Obama then lets wind companies eradicate even more of this republic’s innocent national bird,” which is being “sacrificed in the name of environmental correctness.”
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