WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is revising a federal rule that allows wind-energy companies to operate high-speed turbines for up to 30 years, even if means killing or injuring thousands of federally protected bald and golden eagles.
Under the plan announced Wednesday, wind companies and other power providers could kill or injure up to 4,200 bald eagles a year without penalty — nearly four times the current limit.
Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe said the proposal will "provide a path forward" for maintaining eagle populations while also spurring development of a pollution-free energy source that's intended to ease global warming, a cornerstone of President Barack Obama's energy plan.
"Pollution-free"? Really? Those aerial Cuisinarts sit on big concrete pads, and the steel towers the support the rotors are as tall as a thirty-story building. Ashe would evidently have us believe that no pollution is generated during the fabrication of these things, which means that he believes we're really, really stupid. In addition to bird strikes, the vortices generated by the spinning blades - each the width of a jetliner wing - produce a sudden drop in barometric pressure that kills tens of thousands of bats annually because their lungs explode.
Michael Hutchins of the American Bird Conservancy said that unless the plan requires better tracking of bird deaths at or near wind turbines it is unlikely to succeed. Hutchins, whose group filed a lawsuit challenging the 2013 eagle plan, said officials must ensure that bird-death reporting is done by independent observers rather than by the industry, which he said treats such data as "trade secrets." "Mortality data should be transparent and open to the public," Hutchins said.
It should be obvious that allowing the industry to self-report is an exercise in futility. They're only in it for the money, after all. And who owns major shares in these companies? Folks like Tom Steyer and Warren Buffet.