NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Green Energy Kills Eagles

December 19, 2013

The Obama administration is allowing the wind industry to kill eagles, says Robert Bryce, a senior fellow with the Center for Energy Policy and the Environment at the Manhattan Institute.

On Friday, December 6, the Department of Interior announced that it was granting permits to wind-energy companies that would allow them to kill and maim bald and golden eagles without penalty.

  • The wind industry has been lobbying for these permits for years.
  • After the announcement, an American Wind Energy Association official stated that the program was "about conservation," and was "not a program to kill eagles."
  • Environmental groups have lashed out at the decision. The National Audubon Society's CEO David Yarnold said, "Instead of balancing the need for conservation and renewable energy, Interior wrote the wind industry a blank check."

The federal government has spent the last few decades bringing hundreds of cases against the oil and gas industry for killing migratory birds, but the wind industry has been left alone. It was not until a few weeks ago that the government first enforced the Migratory Bird Treaty Act against the wind industry, when it filed charges against Duke Energy for killing 14 golden eagles and 149 other protected birds. But only a few days after settling that suit, the Department of Interior issued its announcement.

  • After spending millions of taxpayer dollars to conserve the bald eagle, the bird was finally moved off of the endangered species list in 2007.
  • Biologists at the Fish and Wildlife Service reported that the number of eagles killed by wind turbines has shot up from two in 2007 to 24 in 2011. After that report, the authors documented additional eagle kills in Idaho, Montana, Nevada and North Dakota.
  • Moreover, the Fish and Wildlife Service reported in April that "there are no conservation measures that have been scientifically shown to reduce eagle disturbance and blade-strike mortality at wind projects."

Source: Robert Bryce, "'Green' Energy Kills Eagles," National Review, December 9, 2013.


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