NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Obama’s Wind-Energy Lobby Gets Blown Away

August 21, 2015

On August 11th, a federal judge in California ruled in favor of protecting the bald eagle, a symbol of American freedom. This ruling represents a setback for the wind industry and for President Obama's Clean Power Plan. This decision, however, also points to the administration's close relationship with the wind industry and the danger to wildlife as a result of increased wind-energy facilities.

The judge determined that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act when it issued 30 year permits to wind-energy companies without first conducting an environmental-impact assessment.

As an industry that promotes itself as environmentally friendly, wind energy companies face a PR predicament because its turbines kill more than a half a million birds each year.

The Clean Power Plan is relying on wind energy more than any other form of renewable energy. The rationale used by clean energy promoters is the following:

  • Future climate change is more important than preserving wildlife.
  • To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, wind-generating capacity will have to increase significantly (but would also increase the killing of birds).

These advocates, of course, don't consider that rising emissions in emerging economies will undo whatever gains are achieved in the U.S.

Meanwhile the killing of birds continues. A 2008 study of a northern California wind facility found that it kills approximately 60 eagles and 2500 other raptors each year.

Source: Robert Bryce, "Obama's Wind-Energy Lobby Gets Blown Away," Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2015.

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