Federal Law Enforcement’s Double Standard on Bird Deaths

Robert Bryce writes about the enormous disparity in federal law enforcement between a bird killed in a wastewater tank versus the increasing number of birds falling victim to Wind Energy.

Wind Turbines and Bird Kills – via Counterpunch :

When it comes to protecting America’s wildlife, federal law enforcement officials have a double standard: one that’s enforced against the oil, gas, and electric utility sectors, and another that exempts the wind power sector from prosecution despite years of evidence involving hundreds, even thousands, of violations of two of America’s oldest wildlife-protection laws.

 
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Brian Ertz

11 Responses to Wind Turbines and Bird Kills

  1. avatar Ryan says:

    Oil Evil, Green energy good and beyond reproach.

  2. In case not everyone noticed, the editors of this blog are skeptical of the green credentials of many, and maybe most wind turbine farms.

    The same is true of vast solar farms, and almost all centralized energy technologies located distant from the load centers.

  3. avatar chris says:

    Everyone looks down on oil, but few are willing to look critically at green energy. Meanwhile bats and birds are killed at an alarming rate. Sadly, it may take a whooping crane mortality before the so-called conservation groups grow up and give a damn.

  4. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    bats and birds are not the only victims of the modern-day land rush to develop massive “renewable” energy on lands, including public lands. habitat for all wildlife, including big-game habitat, is also compromised.

  5. avatar Wyo Native says:

    Brian,

    Excellent article.

  6. avatar Jim from Wisconsin says:

    The problem is we are letting the big utility companies exploit the renewable energy quest in the country. If we want anything done and in the right way – we can’t leave it up to the companies who are in it looking for the gigantic profits without regard for anything else. In Wisconsin there are home builders who build completely energy independent homes. They are using the latest technology for insulating, etc. plus making them a bit smaller as people realize the expense of heating and cooling so many square feet. With just solar panels on the house or in the yard it has been shown that these homes can be energy independent. Add to that a wind generator with a cover like on your oscillating fan to protect the birds from getting killed – people are actually getting money back by selling the excess back to the utility companies. Yes this can cost alot to build a home like that but consider this….say you spend an extra $25,000 to build a home like this – it would add a max $150/mo. on to the 30yr mortgage payment at competetive rates. Add in the tax rebates and credits depending on the state and you get a good break there, too. Plus, you get no utility bills or could actually get money from the utiliy companies by selling electricity back to them which can be shown as income. No need for the big wind and solar farms, no problems with the energy coming so far from the load centers, etc. If you are worried the mortgage company won’t approve it – just break it down in the monthly expenses/income and it’s just as affordable as a home without this technology. Plus it makes the home more valuable and easier to sell down the road. The $25k figure may not be right but even if it’s $50k that raises the payment about $300 per month – still if you pay close to $200 for gas and electric normally and you can still sell electricity back to the utility company and get renewable energy tax credits – it still looks pretty good and there is no toll on the environment, habitats and birds, etc., etc. Also, for all the skeptics out there – I’m going to research the cost of these homes a little more and I am going to an open house this weekend to find out more on prices, etc. But it seems fairly logical to me. It would be more of a “grass roots” movement which doesn’t involve the exploitation of “evil” oil and utility companies!!

  7. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    Jim,

    the solution that you describe, the decentralized/democratic deployment of renewable energy technologies, and their economic/social/&security advantages over centralized generation was as much a part of the promise of these technologies as their contribution to mitigation of climate change alone. Somehow, recently, these promises got lost behind the same old, tired model that’s been around. Lobbyists curtailing the promise of a liberated grid.

    that individuals could harness the economic benefit of the resource of the sun or wind in their backyard, on their rooftop, will promises to uplift individuals/communities economically (as opposed to a few politically & economically priveleged individuals or corporate entities) – and liberate individuals/communities from the Enron shenanigans and extreme economic vulnerability/dependency associated with private companies holding exclusive control over energy.

    There’s vulnerability from an economic perspective – as well as from a security perspective in private/centralized corporations maintaining exclusive privilege to profit in energy generation as entire communities’ economic life-blood could be disrupted at bottle-neck points of distribution or generation – whereas distributing power production maintains stability across an entire community. If an individual source were to go down, others are there.

    Likewise, distributive generation RE-develops already precluded habitat, rather than necessitating aggressive incursion into the last undeveloped landscapes we have left.

    The distributed model also promises much greater efficiency. Generating energy at its point of use significantly reduces wasted energy, as vastly less energy is lost in transport (power is lost across a line – the further power has to travel, the less is available at the end). Additionally, there are many examples of the tendency that individuals have to conserve when more aware of where their energy comes from and where it is consumed. Just that proximity and the awareness radically reduces consumption.

    And one of the best things to think about is the significant potential for efficiency via innovation. Decentralized generation of energy more readily models ecology than that of our current centralized model (which force-fits massive production technologies via convoluted market responses rather than deploying via what would be the most efficient solution in a particular environment) ~ that is, nature is pretty efficient at utilizing energy given its immediate environment and conditions present — different trees, grasses, and plants grow and adapt in different environments ~ right ? In much the same way, the evolution ~ adaptation of energy production technologies – technologies that maximized potential efficiencies endemic to particular environments – would be fostered by distribution of production.

    folk like to respond by suggesting that we don’t have the grid infrastructure to accommodate decentralized production. but the fact is, we don’t have the grid infrastructure to accommodate centralized “renewables” ~ that’s why we’re seeing so many proposals that include the tax-payer spending billions in upgrading the grid even as we speak, cutting into habitat & degrading our public lands – to facilitate “renewables” planned for the future. So the tax-payer is subsidizing an upgrade to the grid that will foster giant profits for giant corporations rather than using that same dollar to subside a grid which fosters a greater potential for individuals to garner that resource …

    it’s all about the dollar ~ corporate energy lobbyists corralling politicians into subsidizing their exclusivity over a diffuse & public resource that could just as easily be shared among us all.

  8. avatar JB says:

    I too would like to see a focus on decentralized energy production. However, it is not a panacea. I sat on a committee recently for a graduate student investigating the viability and adoption of “small wind” here in the Midwest. I walked away from his presentation with a new appreciation of the many different barriers that are preventing these technologies from becoming viable alternatives. Ironically, one of the biggest problems is local governments, who pass ordinances banning structures of a certain height, or banning the use of small wind altogether. A neighbor recently was the first in the county to install a small wind turbine at his home; the permitting alone took several months. This particular case occurred in a very conservative and rural part of the state–meaning folks there are generally opposed to government regulation. Imagine what people contend with in urban areas.

    It is going to take a revolution in the way we think about energy production to make decentralized energy happen.

  9. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    JB,

    the cool thing about a photovoltaic array or a residential wind generator is that you can throw a system up on a piece of land and to hell with the rest of the world … It’s all goin’ Mad Max ~ Beyond Thunderdome soon enough anyway ~ 😉

    ~ Viva la revolution ~

  10. avatar CAT says:

    Maybe the new solar road/parking lot proposed by the north idaho guy will put power back in the hands of the small generator.

    http://www.idahostatesman.com/newsupdates/story/895850.html

  11. avatar Ryan says:

    I wasn’t commenting about the columns posted on this blog, just the overall thought process on Green energy. Dams, with the exception of the habitat altering habits and wanton distruction of andodomus fish species are very green as well. The bottom line is there is no perfect answer, much like politics, its just a matter of making the choice that stinks the least.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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