Tag Archives: Raptor

Obama administration issues permits to wind energy companies to kill rare birds

From National Review.

Excerpt:

We have to kill eagles in order to save them.

That’s now the official policy of the U.S. Interior Department. On Friday, the agency announced that it would grant some wind-energy companies permits that will allow them to kill or injure bald and golden eagles for up to 30 years without penalty.

The move is an unprecedented gift to the wind-energy industry, which has been lobbying for the 30-year permit for several years. Shortly after the deal was announced, the wind-energy lobby issued a statement that would make George Orwell proud. An official with the American Wind Energy Association declared that this “is not a program to kill eagles.” It is, he claimed, “about conservation.”

Well then. We can now rest easy. Big Wind is saving eagles by getting permits to kill them.

Dozens of environmental groups, including the American Bird Conservancy, the Conservation Law Center, and the National Audubon Society, opposed the deal. Under the headline “Interior Dept. Rule Greenlights Eagle Slaughter at Wind Farms,” Audubon issued a statement calling it “a stunningly bad move” and quoting the group’s president and CEO, David Yarnold: “Instead of balancing the need for conservation and renewable energy, Interior wrote the wind industry a blank check.” He called it “outrageous” that “the government is sanctioning the killing of America’s symbol, the Bald Eagle.”

[…]On September 11, some of the top raptor biologists at the Fish and Wildlife Service issued a report that found that the number of documented eagle kills by wind turbines has increased dramatically over the past few years, rising from two in 2007 to 24 in 2011. In all, some 85 eagles have been killed by wind turbines since 1997. And that figure is “an absolute minimum,” Joel Pagel, the lead author of the report, recently told me. Among the carcasses: six bald eagles.

In an interview shortly after the publication of his findings in the Journal of Raptor Research, Pagel told me that he and his colleagues have since documented additional eagle kills by wind turbines in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and North Dakota. He refused to give a number but said “it’s quite a few.” There are now 14 states where the problem has been identified, he said, adding that more than half of the eagle carcasses have been found “incidentally” — that is, by people not out looking for them. And so the total of dead eagles is likely far higher than what Pagel and his colleagues are reporting.

As someone who loves birds of all kinds and who has owned different species of parrots for the last 25 years, I am outraged by the Obama administration’s war on birds. Birds are among the most intelligent animals, and many species are capable of forming bonds with humans in ways that most other animals cannot. We should not be subsidizing “green” energy projects that result in the killing of rare birds. Although global warming theory is now widely recognized as being contrary to observations, the need to protect endangered species is real.

Wind power turbine kills white-throated needletail

White-throated Needletail
White-throated Needletail

My friend Barbara G. sent me this UK Telegraph story about rare birds, because she knows that I love birds.

Excerpt:

Around 40 people were watching the White-throated Needletail, the world’s fastest flying bird, on the Isles of Harris when the tragedy happened.

Sightings of the bird have only been recorded eight times in the UK in nearly 170 years, most recently in 1991, prompting around 80 ornithologists to visit the island in the hope of catching a glimpse.

John Marchant, a project coordinator for the British Trust for Ornithology, visited the island on a specially-arranged trip with a group of other birdwatchers and witnessed the death.

The 62-year-old bird enthusiast said he travelled from Norfolk when he heard about the arrival of the bird, which had brown, blue and black bird plumage.

“We were absolutely over the moon and thrilled to see the bird. We watched it for nearly two hours. While we were watching it suddenly it was a bit close to the turbine and then the blades hit it,” he said.

[…]During the 1991 sighting, a single bird was spotted four times in Kent, Staffordshire, Derbyshire and finally Shetland.

The White-throated Needletail, also known as the Needle-tailed Swift or Spine-tailed Swift, is known to fly up at speeds of up to 69mph, although there are unconfirmed reports of them reaching 105mph.

The birds have very short legs, which they use only for clinging to vertical surfaces, and they build their nests in rock crevices in cliffs or hollow trees. They spend most of their lives in the air, living on the insects they catch in their beaks.

They breed in rocky hills in central Asia and southern Siberia but migrate south to the Indian Subcontinent, southeast Asia and Australia.

The SNP administration at Holyrood is pressing ahead with a rapid expansion in the number of wind farms after setting a target to generate the equivalent of all Scotland’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

The SNP is the socialist Scottish National Party. They are basically secular communists, so they love subsidizing green energy – and killing rare birds.

Here’s a related story closer to home, from Fox News. (H/T Melissa)

Excerpt:

The Obama administration has never fined or prosecuted a wind farm for killing eagles and other protected bird species, shielding the industry from liability and helping keep the scope of the deaths secret, an Associated Press investigation has found.

More than 573,000 birds are killed by the country’s wind farms each year, including 83,000 hunting birds such as hawks, falcons and eagles, according to an estimate published in March in the peer-reviewed Wildlife Society Bulletin.

Each death is federal crime, a charge that the Obama administration has used to prosecute oil companies when birds drown in their waste pits, and power companies when birds are electrocuted by their power lines. No wind energy company has been prosecuted, even those that repeatedly flout the law.

[…]Documents and emails obtained by The Associated Press offer glimpses of the problem: 14 deaths at seven facilities in California, five each in New Mexico and Oregon, one in Washington state and another in Nevada, where an eagle was found with a hole in its neck, exposing the bone.

One of the deadliest places in the country for golden eagles is Wyoming, where federal officials said wind farms had killed more than four dozen golden eagles since 2009, predominantly in the southeastern part of the state. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the figures. Getting precise figures is impossible because many companies aren’t required to disclose how many birds they kill. And when they do, experts say, the data can be unreliable.

When companies voluntarily report deaths, the Obama administration in many cases refuses to make the information public, saying it belongs to the energy companies or that revealing it would expose trade secrets or implicate ongoing enforcement investigations.

Nearly all the birds being killed are protected under federal environmental laws, which prosecutors have used to generate tens of millions of dollars in fines and settlements from businesses, including oil and gas companies, over the past five years.

“What it boils down to is this: If you electrocute an eagle, that is bad, but if you chop it to pieces, that is OK,” said Tim Eicher, a former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service enforcement agent based in Cody, Wyo.

Most other people like dogs and cats, but I like birds. I am concerned about birds of prey who are endangered species. I believe in conservation. To me, what this story says is that Obama doesn’t really care about the environment. The federal government does have some legitimate functions, like protecting us from threats, maintaining roads and protecting endangered species. But they don’t have to be subsidizing wind power, especially when it causes pain and suffering to innocent birds.

Obama administration won’t prosecute wind farms for killing thousands of endangered birds

From Fox News. (H/T Melissa)

Excerpt:

The Obama administration has never fined or prosecuted a wind farm for killing eagles and other protected bird species, shielding the industry from liability and helping keep the scope of the deaths secret, an Associated Press investigation has found.

More than 573,000 birds are killed by the country’s wind farms each year, including 83,000 hunting birds such as hawks, falcons and eagles, according to an estimate published in March in the peer-reviewed Wildlife Society Bulletin.

Each death is federal crime, a charge that the Obama administration has used to prosecute oil companies when birds drown in their waste pits, and power companies when birds are electrocuted by their power lines. No wind energy company has been prosecuted, even those that repeatedly flout the law.

[…]Documents and emails obtained by The Associated Press offer glimpses of the problem: 14 deaths at seven facilities in California, five each in New Mexico and Oregon, one in Washington state and another in Nevada, where an eagle was found with a hole in its neck, exposing the bone.

One of the deadliest places in the country for golden eagles is Wyoming, where federal officials said wind farms had killed more than four dozen golden eagles since 2009, predominantly in the southeastern part of the state. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the figures. Getting precise figures is impossible because many companies aren’t required to disclose how many birds they kill. And when they do, experts say, the data can be unreliable.

When companies voluntarily report deaths, the Obama administration in many cases refuses to make the information public, saying it belongs to the energy companies or that revealing it would expose trade secrets or implicate ongoing enforcement investigations.

Nearly all the birds being killed are protected under federal environmental laws, which prosecutors have used to generate tens of millions of dollars in fines and settlements from businesses, including oil and gas companies, over the past five years.

“What it boils down to is this: If you electrocute an eagle, that is bad, but if you chop it to pieces, that is OK,” said Tim Eicher, a former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service enforcement agent based in Cody, Wyo.

Most other people like dogs and cats, but I like birds. I am concerned about birds of prey who are endangered species. I believe in conservation. To me, what this story says is that Obama doesn’t really care about the environment. The federal government does have some legitimate functions, like protecting us from threats, maintaining roads and protecting endangered species. But they don’t have to be subsidizing wind power, especially when it causes pain and suffering to innocent birds.

Obama cuts military spending, blinks at North Korean aggression

You knew that the socialist ACORN lawyer was going to cut military spending at some point. Well, he’s done it.

Sweetness and Light reports on the cuts in military spending here. (H/T Gateway Pundit)

Excerpt from an AP article:

Production of the F-22 fighter jet, which cost $140 million apiece, would be halted at 187.

…The Army’s $160 billion Future Combat Systems modernization program would lose its armored vehicles. Plans to build a shield to defend against missile attacks by rogue states would also be scaled back…

See, the thing you need to understand is that wars start when aggressors believe they can win the war. When you build up your own military, aggressors start to understand that victory may not be so easy. That’s how you prevent wars from even starting. This is called peace through strength.

So, by cutting defense spending, Obama is basically emboldening aggressors. Not just aggression against us, but aggression against our allies. If our enemies do not believe that we have the will or the firepower to defend our interests, and those of our allies, abroad, then they will act against our interests. The North Korean missile launch is just the beginning.

Closing Velocity had some more details on the missile defense cuts. (H/T Hot Air)

  • Total cuts in missile defense: $1.4 billion or roughly 15%.
  • Cancel second Airborne Laser (ABL) aircraft, keep the one remaining ABL prototype as a testbed and revert to pure R&D.
  • No increases in Ground-based Interceptor (GBI) deployment in Alaska. Remaining silos will stay unfilled. European GBIs will be decided on later during the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR).
  • Termination of the Multiple Kill Vehicle (MKV) program.
  • Hot Air linked to this Politico article, featuring comments by Newt Gingrich.

    Excerpt:

    “Dick Cheney is clearly right in saying that between the court decisions about terrorists and the administration actions, the United States is running greater risks of getting attacked than we were under President Bush,” said the former speaker of the House and Georgia congressman.

    On the North Korean missile launch, he said “the embarrassing repudiation of the United States appeal to the United Nations Security Council Sunday afternoon is a vivid demonstration of weakness. This is beginning to resemble the Carter administration’s weakness in foreign policy.”

    He said Obama’s speech on nuclear disarmament in Prague on Sunday “is a dangerous fantasy that runs an enormous risk. It is part of the Obama administration’s substitution of words for thoughts and fantasies for achievements.”

    “Now we no longer have a ‘global war on terror,’” Gingrich said. “We have ‘overseas contingency operations’ Now we will no longer have ‘terrorist attacks.’ We will have ‘man-made disasters.’ None of our enemies seem to have learned this new language.”

    “There was amazing symbolism in North Korea deciding to launch a missile the very day President Obama was speaking to Europeans about his fantasy of nuclear disarmament. The West has talked with North Korea for over 15 years and they just keep building nuclear weapons and missiles. We have been talking with the Iranians for a decade and they continue to build nuclear capability and missiles.

    “Pakistan has a lot of nuclear weapons. Russia, India and China have nuclear weapons. Hamas in Gaza fires missiles into Israel virtually every day. In this reality, our president proposes we have a big meeting in Washington to discuss nuclear disarmament.”

    And he contrasts Obama’s plan with Ronald Reagan’s policy.

    “Reagan felt that keeping a defensive shield alive was more important than a paper deal. The Obama administration is rapidly undermining our missile defense system while describing a fantasy world of trust and cooperation.”

    Here is  a related quotation from Ronald Reagan’s debate against the 2nd worst president ever, Jimmy Carter.

    And I’m only here to tell you that I believe with all my heart that our first priority must be world peace, and that use of force is always and only a last resort, when everything else has failed, and then only with regard to our national security. Now, I believe, also, that this meeting this mission, this responsibility for preserving the peace, which I believe is a responsibility peculiar to our country, and that we cannot shirk our responsibility as a leader of the free world because we’re the only ones that can do it. Therefore, the burden of maintaining the peace falls on us. And to maintain that peace requires strength. America has never gotten in a war because we were too strong.

    Ronald Reagan’s focus on strength projected abroad ended the cold war without firing a shot. And military spending is vital for achieving peace. But Obama is choosing a different path… the path of Jimmy Carter. And we all know where that ended.

    UPDATE: More on the NK missile launch, including Gingrich video on Fox News Sunday at Nice Deb.

    UPDATE: A new post on the effectiveness of waterboarding and Obama’s intent to prosecute the authors of counter-terrorism policies, possible including George W. Bush himself.