Fighting Climate Change by Killing Eagles
Why isn't the wind industry subject to the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act?
For some environmentalists, the threat of climate change is so great that we must allow wind turbines to kill bald and golden eagles. The argument I've heard is that renewables, including wind energy, will reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Less carbon dioxide reduces the threat posed by climate change, which benefits eagles and other wildlife.
In other words, we have to kill eagles in order to save them.
If this sounds far-fetched, consider the notice that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published in the Federal Register on Sept. 27. It seeks public comment on a proposed permit that will allow a wind project to kill up to five golden eagles over a five-year period, despite their protected status under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
The permit is sought for the Shiloh IV Wind Project in Solano County, Calif. If it is granted, it would formally recognize a legal double standard that is already in existence with regard to wildlife protection in America.
Wind projects routinely violate the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, but no wind farm has ever faced a single prosecution. Meanwhile, companies in the oil and gas industry and other sectors are routinely indicted for violating those same statutes.
The illegal bird kills are not insubstantial. On Sept. 11, some of Fish and Wildlife's top raptor biologists published a study in the Journal of Raptor Research that found the number of eagles killed by wind turbines increased to 24 in 2011 from two in 2007. In all, some 85 eagles have been killed since 1997. Joel Pagel, the study's lead author, recently told me that the figure is "an absolute minimum." Among the carcasses: six bald eagles.
Mr. Pagel's study was published just five months after Fish and Wildlife issued a report that stated "there are no conservation measures that have been scientifically shown to reduce eagle disturbance and blade-strike mortality at wind projects." So if more turbines are built, more eagles will be killed.
Wind turbines overall kill some 573,000 birds per year including 83,000 birds of prey, according to a study this March in the Wildlife Society Bulletin. Yet the effect that wind power has on reducing global carbon-dioxide emissions is so small as to be insignificant. Elementary math proves that point.
The American Wind Energy Association claims that in 2012 wind energy production reduced domestic CO2 emissions by 80 million tons. Last year, global emissions of that gas totaled 34.5 billion tons. Thus, the 60,000 megawatts of U.S. wind-generation capacity reduced global carbon-dioxide emissions by about two-tenths of 1%. To achieve a 1% reduction in global carbon-dioxide emissions, the U.S. would have to install at least 120,000 more turbines (assuming each machine has a capacity of two megawatts).
Last year, all of the wind turbines on the planet provided the energy equivalent of about 2.4 million barrels of oil per day. But over the past decade, the annual increase in coal use averaged some 2.6 million barrels of oil equivalent per day. Merely to keep pace with the soaring growth in coal usage, the world's electricity producers would have to nearly replicate the entire global fleet of wind turbines—some 285,000 megawatts of capacity, or roughly 142,000 turbines—every year.
There are two scandals here. First, wind turbines are killing legally protected eagles in the name of slowing climate change, but whatever reductions in carbon-dioxide emissions that may be occurring is equivalent to a baby's burp in a hurricane.
Second, the wind-energy industry is lobbying to extend a production tax credit—the 2.2 cent-per-kilowatt-hour subsidy that has fueled the turbine-building craze over the past few years. Last year the subsidy was extended for one year, at a cost to taxpayers of $12 billion. Another one-year extension will cost an additional $6.1 billion, according to a recent estimate by the congressional Joint Tax Committee.
It's bad enough that this so-called green industry wants to continue killing eagles with impunity. Taxpayers should not be subsidizing the slaughter.
Mr. Bryce is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.
To say nothing about the habitat destruction for building the towers and extensive power lines to feed the power back to the grid.ReplyDelete
We must destroy habitat to save it.
Even worse is the number of bats killed by these monuments to ignorance.ReplyDelete
This is the kind of crap these people do that really makes me see red. These are the most majestic, magnificent, and beautiful birds in existence. And, we are going to kill them off ostensibly based on a children's fairy tale about the evil global warming bogeyman, but really so that governments around the world can have untrammeled authority to tax any and every human activity. Grrrr.... - BartReplyDelete
Well said, sad & pathetic the waste of resources, destruction of nature, impoverishment of the poor, etc. all to solve the non-problem of CO2.Delete
But it is fun, right?ReplyDelete
Wind turbines at Altamont Pass kill an estimated
880 to 1,300 birds of prey each year, including up to 116 golden eagles, 300 red-tailed hawks, 380
burrowing owls, and additional hundreds of other raptors including kestrels, falcons, vultures, and
other owl species. The APWRA is an ecological sink for golden eagles and other raptor species and
may be having significant impacts on populations of birds that are rare and reproduce infrequently.
"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."
Near Atlantic City NJ 5 industrial wind turbines were erected which are killing an average of 76 birds and bats per year per turbine(not the 1-2 that AWEA and US Fish and Wildlife publicize). This has been documented by the local Audubon society. Though to make sure not too information is known…they only study for 2 years after installation then after that….It is a shameful secret! These killed a Peregrine Falcon of which there are only 25 breeding pair in the entire state, also numerous Osprey, a Green Heron, a Dunlin and many others….is not worth it for these highly variable power producers which require full CO2 emitting backup and power shadowing. Money would be much better spent on conservation and efficiency…which have been shown to be ten times more cost effective thereby doing more for our planet
The project proposed by Wind Capital Group of St. Louis would erect 94 wind turbines on 8,400 acres that the Osage Nation says contains key eagle-nesting habitat and migratory routes. http://bdnews24.com/environment/2013/06/15/native-americans-decry-eagle-deaths
st louis mayor's office:
Phone: (314) 622-3201
2007: NRC Report on Environmental Impact of Wind Farms
"Collisions with buildings kill 97 to 976 million birds annually; collisions with high-tension
lines kill at least 130 million birds, perhaps more than one billion; collisions with communications towers kill between 4 and 5 million based on “conservative estimates,”