When bald eagles confront danger, most normal Americans would leap to preserve, protect, and defend America’s national symbol. But Team Obama’s response is completely different: It wants to give wind-power companies long-term permits to butcher Bald Eagles on the altar of green energy.
The dirty secret about “clean” wind power is that its turbines are giant, whirling machetes. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), “With more than 100,000 turbines expected to be in operation in the United States by 2030, annual bird mortality rates alone (now estimated by the Service at 440,000 per year) are expected to exceed one million.”
Like other birds, eagles sometimes do not detect blades that often revolve at 200 miles per hour. Such birds of prey focus on finding smaller creatures to devour and then fatally smack into windmills.
Bald eagles and golden eagles are among the victims. This is the first significant bad news for bald eagles since their return from near-extinction. According to the Audubon Society, only 417 nesting pairs of bald eagles inhabited the continental United States in 1963. The bald eagle joined the Endangered Species List on July 4, 1976. Public and private protection helped secure its June 2007 delisting. At least 7,066 nesting pairs now populate the lower 48 states, among a total world population of some 330,000.
And now this.
Most Americans would expect Washington to shield these beautiful, majestic, and soaring creatures. Instead, they are being sacrificed in the name of environmental correctness.
“We anticipate issuing programmatic permits for wind, solar, and other energy projects,” says an FWS fact sheet. It also states: “Permits may authorize lethal take that is incidental to an otherwise lawful activity, such as mortalities caused by collisions with rotating wind turbines.”
“Lethal take” is Washingtonian for “federally approved eagle slaughter.” Precise eagle-kill numbers are tough to determine, in part because “other animals gobble the carcasses almost immediately,” the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s R. J. Smith explains. About 67 golden eagles are estimated to be killed annually just at Northern California’s Altamont Pass wind farm.
The carnage expands from there.
“In California, it is very reasonable to assume that over 100 golden eagles are killed each year,” wildlife biologist Jim Wiegand, vice president of Save the Eagles International, tells me. “Based upon the death rate at Altamont Pass of 60 to 90 each year, or 0.10 to 0.15 per megawatt produced, the death rate easily could be over 500 a year from wind farms located in golden-eagle habitat in the western United States. . . . Since 2005, there has been a 50 percent decline in golden-eagle nest sites recorded near Altamont Pass. It has been hidden from the public, and I had to uncover this fact. In addition, no golden eagles have nested in the 86-square-mile region of Altamont Pass for over 20 years, even though they once did, and this is prime golden-eagle habitat.”
“Despite what has been published, Altamont is not an aberration,” Wiegand adds. “This wind farm just happens to have had some of the better mortality studies that have been conducted on wind farms. In addition, it has been proven (but covered up) that wherever these turbines are placed, there is no escape. They kill the indigenous bird species.”