News on wind and solar farms keeps getting worse-

It doesn’t have to be that solar and wind power alternative energy has to be hard on people and animals. However, the way they are being rolled out is damaging.

For example, the SW desert solar farms seem to be spreading the debilitating fungal disease, coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever, a growing threat). They tear up the desert and so release sequestered carbon. They destroy the habitat for desert animals.

Wind farms kill birds and bats. Now we learn that as far as our national symbols goes, the doubly protected bald eagle (2 laws protect it) and the golden eagle (protected by the ESA), the Obama Administration is coddling wind farms. They have never prosecuted a wind farm for killing eagles or other birds.

The Associated Press just broke the news. AP IMPACT: Wind farms get pass on eagle deaths. By Dina Cappielo. The article also reports that eagles are just the tip of the iceberg with many other protected and unprotected birds being killed (bats are not mentioned, but the wind farms are very lethal to bats).

Although it is difficult for an operating wind farm to quickly or cheaply change its bird killing ways, the design stage is another matter.  There are new designs that don’t use blades. There are locations where there are few birds.

The death of birds and bats is a real cost of wind power. The wind farms ought to be assessed fines for killing birds so that the true cost of wind power is reflected in the marketplace.  Assessing a fine is an efficient way of getting wind farms to pay their full cost of operation. This is a method that does not generate contempt for law and produces minimal distortion (actually probable improvement) of the operation of the marketplace.

It has to be added that conventional energy generation such as coal, nuclear, oil also produces costs, often huge costs, that are not paid — not included in the market price. Instead these costs are passed onto “bystanders” and the environment. These might be greater per unit of energy than wind farms.

The protection the Administration is giving wind farms is not unique. Instead, it is a continuation of the defective traditional way of doing energy business.

 

 

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides.

165 Responses to AP breaks story that Obama Administration won’t prosecute wind farm eagle deaths

  1. avatar Larry says:

    Also to be mentioned should be the build up of reluctancy of federal prosecution in other situations of reckless activity that causes migratory bird deaths. Such things as reckless application of herbicides and insecticides that cause wildlife death can be justified to be “overlooked” when compared to deaths from wind farm business. Justification will be, “That’s the cost of doing business”. And true it is now with trapping that gets a pass when nontarget animals are killed. We are creating a social exemption to otherwise strict liability laws and the long term will be that more and more will be overlooked.

    • avatar David says:

      We all plug things in, and that energy has to come from somewhere. Despite what this story on the Associated Press wire yesterday would seem to suggest, wind power is the most environmentally benign source of utility-scale electricity, and a leading solution to climate change, the greatest threat to wildlife. AP writer Dina Cappiello interviewed AWEA and wind company wildlife experts at length, but left out virtually everything we told her. Here are the top five things her story left out:

      http://www.awea.org/blog/index.cfm?customel_dataPageID_1699=22541

      American Wind Energy Association

      • avatar JB says:

        Hold on to your tinfoil hats…

      • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

        I will just comment on this point that David from the American Wind Energy Association makes:

        “5) The choice is not between wind energy and nothing. In order to have a functioning society we need have to have electricity to power our homes, schools and businesses. The AP story fails to acknowledge this reality.”

        I say it is true we need electricity, but the least expensive source of additional electricity, put to use, is greater energy efficiency, not any kind of production.

        Energy, electricity or otherwise, dissipated as waste heat is energy lost. If the loss is captured and put to work, you have more useful energy. If capturing the loss is the lowest cost way of getting more energy, then that is the rational economic decision.

        Therefore, the point above is not relevant. The issue is not wind farms or else we will have no electricity. To say that it is, is silly.

      • avatar Ida Lupine says:

        It is too late to do anything about climate change. The biggest threat to wildlife and the environment is human population growth. At 9 billion predicted for 2050, how do we ever think we can do anything to prevent climate change? Habitat and tree loss, papering the landscape with solar and wind farms, waste and trash, it is ridiculous to think anything meaningful is going to change.

        Again, I’ll say, killing birds off today for some nebulous doomsday scenario in the future makes no sense.

        Meanwhile, today, right now:

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/15/indian-tigers-genetic-div_n_3280050.html?utm_hp_ref=green

        This was a poor attempt at damage control and fails.

        • avatar Ida Lupine says:

          And for the record, I do believe global warming is real, and have long before everyone jumped on board the sinking ship in a panic.

          Also, wind is not the most benign form of power – rooftop solar on already developed and ruined landscapes is.

          • avatar Ida Lupine says:

            Oops, make that ‘jump off the sinking ship’.

            Damage control aside – the point of the article is that the Obama administration is giving the industry a free pass to circumvent laws in place to protect migratory birds, and hiding it from the public.

            If they know something we don’t, and bird mortality is less, prove it and make the information available to the public so they may make informed decisions.

      • avatar aves says:

        Some additional spin under #4:

        “The eagle “take” permit is not a wholesale license to kill eagles, nor is it specifically designed for the wind industry”

        The listing in the Federal Register makes a vague reference to “other projects” but only specifically mentions renewable energy and windmills.

        “Having long-term permits is good from resource management standpoint as it allows for a longer term impact analysis”

        The impact analysis will be the counting of dead eagles by the permit holder. We are supposed to trust the projects that are killing eagles to provide an accurate count of the mortality and then thank them for counting what they killed.

        Eagle Permits; Changes in the Regulations Governing Eagle Permitting
        http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-04-13/pdf/2012-8086.pdf

  2. avatar ramses09 says:

    Obama Administration caters to BIG business, hunters & ranchers. He has been a BIG disappointment to me.

  3. avatar PNW says:

    The effect of turbines on bats is especially disturbing. It seems that bats are attracted to turbines like moths to a lightbulb.

    http://www.fort.usgs.gov/BatsWindmills/

  4. avatar john says:

    i said it from day one, this chump is a fraud on all faces.

  5. avatar mikepost says:

    Part of the failure of these projects is the lack of a “dust to dust” environmental analysis. Not just cost of doing business issues but what are the impacts of creating the materials that are used in manufacturing of any of our “green” products like hybrid cars or wind turbines. What are the costs of dismantaling and recycling old wind farm machines, composits and batteries. It seems we get hung up on “green” results that may just be worse than what we are replacing if the totallity of the dust to dust life costs are added up.

    • avatar Ida Lupine says:

      Absolutely. We’ve got the same old approach that is defeating the purpose of what could be promising technology.

    • avatar WM says:

      mikepost,

      Getting hung up on windy “green” is all in the packaging and the short term political windfall (pun intended). It creates the appearance of new jobs, from the manufacturing of the turbines and stanchions (some/most not made in the US by the way), to the permitting, construction and operations. Then there is the power. The turbines in WA for example, it is my understanding, are generating kilowatts for the grid that take the power to CA (WA really doesn’t need it that much), at a profit for the business enterprises which install the turbines, and take advantage of the tax breaks for the investments. It really isn’t retiring hydro or other less environmentally friendly sources; it’s new power for a growing population. Much of it for a new population that shouldn’t be here in the first place, powering up those 60 inch big screen TV’s and a newly found resource consumptive lifestyle. Yeah, and some of those green kilowatts are used to make Huggies/Pampers, Gerber baby foods and tortillas, and keep the lights and air conditioning on in the Welfare and Child Support Services offices for an expanding clientelle, also creating new government jobs for bi-lingual employees to provide those services.

  6. avatar JB says:

    “It has to be added that conventional energy generation such as coal, nuclear, oil also produces costs, often huge costs, that are not paid — not included in the market price. Instead these costs are passed onto “bystanders” and the environment. These might be greater per unit of energy than wind farms.”

    Exactly. Applying some critical thought (and connecting a few dots), you have an administration that is interested in promoting green[er] sources of power. However, big oil/gas/coal already work at a huge competitive advantage. So they could: (1) fine wind producers as Ralph suggests, and effectively increase the advantage of conventional energy producers, (2) attempt to account for the full (dust to dust) costs of all energy sources so they compete evenly in the marketplace, or (3) continue to look the other way on all counts. Given the tepid economy and the fact that #2 would end up costing both businesses and consumers more money (as additional production costs are passed along to the consumer), it really isn’t surprising that option #3 prevails.

    It’s doubly unfortunate, as increasing the costs of energy is the absolute best way to encourage conservation.

  7. Obama=Bush. Old boss same as new boss. Obama is controlled by the same corporations that funded and directed Bush.
    If anything he is worse. Bush openly supported the corporations. Obama says one thing, but does another. He claims to support the working man, but appoints the rich banksters to his cabinet. I have lost all faith in Obama to be honest in anything he says or does.

    • avatar alf says:

      “I have lost all faith in Obama to be honest in anything he says or does.”

      Hear, hear ! You, me, and a whole lot of other people !

      • avatar Ida Lupine says:

        I voted for him the first time around, but after the delisting debacle I just couldn’t do it a second time. I voted for the Green party the second time around.

      • avatar SaveBears says:

        You have got to be kidding alf?

  8. avatar Gail says:

    All one needs to do is apply for an “incidental take” permit. In fact the agency in charge of this (F&W?) openly invited other wind companies to apply and take advantage of this opportunity. IF YOU CAN BELIEVE IT!!

  9. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    Eagle Permits; Changes in the Regulations Governing Eagle
    Permitting:

    http://www.fws.gov/policy/library/2012/2012-8086.pdf

  10. avatar timz says:

    I heard an energy “expert” on NPR the other day talking about Wind Farms. I don’t know if what he says is true but his claim was they only produce energy 30% of the time and if the tax breaks and subsidies go away for them they will be abandoned like a sinking ship as their will be no profit in them. I don’t remember who he was but this was just a small part of the interview, he talked about all energy sources.

    • avatar john says:

      The Dept Energy & Climate Change. – say the average production/load factor = 26.2% .
      Ofgem & National Grid work on the presumption that wind only gives a max 11% firm generating capacity.

      Below 5 metres a second (11mph) they will not work,
      below 15 metres a second (33mph) they will produce below their capacity.
      and at 25 metres a second (55mph) they need to be shut down so they don’t get damaged.

      Siemens, who manufacture a range of turbines, state in their technical data sheets, that each turbine actually consumes anything from 5kw of power up to 9.6kw 24 hours a day 52 weeks of the year. They also require 18kw of power to get the motors running to turn the blades for the wind to take over, and also require 18kw of power to rotate the head into the wind. This power comes from an alternative power source, namely the national grid.

      More info –
      http://www.wind-watch.org/

      http://www.windaction.org/

      http://www.na-paw.org/

      http://www.atinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Hidden-Cost.pdf

    • avatar Gail says:

      timz, I believe that “expert” was correct with his info. The reason the turbines only run at 30% efficiency is because wind only blows 30 – 33% of the time!! So, if a wind project brags at powering 100,000 homes, in reality it will only be approx 30,000 homes.
      I wish they’d just change their design and technology. they are spending SO MUCH MONEY in litigation fight homeowners who do NOT want the turbines. The avian mortality, too, has many up in arms about the turbines. Just change the damn design and make them safer….quieter….less pretentious, especially around and near private homes. It’s no joke, despite that some are called NIMBYS (not in my backyard). I’ve come close, personally, and when the biggest investment you’ll ever make (or have for future, retirement, etc) is threatened to take a huge drop, then you see if from a different perspective. The wind companies don’t care if your future is wiped out. What do you do then??

      • avatar Ida Lupine says:

        Yes! I so agree. I’m sure they could be designed to be safer to birds and their locations better located – but it would be too expensive and cut into profits. The one slated for Nantucket Sound for example, is building in a 3.5% annual ‘escalation fee’ in the rates over 15 years.

        Sometimes they work very well – like in small seaside towns and cities (where maybe only two or three turbines are needed, and individual agricultural farms. I do a lot of walking near these oceanside organic farms and the wind turbines are pretty unobtrusive it would seem, even attractive. But the massive utility scale wind and solar farms are just bad news.

        • avatar Gail says:

          Although I have no statistics, I strongly believe the reason they will continue to be rammed down our throats for a while is because everyone got on the bandwagon a few years back with manufacturing them, so now the turbines are STOCKPILED and I’m sure they will be used up before anything new comes along.
          Another hallmark of industrial wind companies is that they are AGGRESSIVE! They will sue your town if possible. My town was very ignorant of the downfalls when we implemented wind regulations. 1200 feet from the door of a residence for a 450 foot wind turbine is NOT good. At a public meeting, I simply asked about a post-contstruction bird study. Their rep (an attorney) pounded his fist on the table and screamed at me “You DON’T WANT THEM, DO YOU!!!!”
          Interestingly, I listen to a Toronto Canada radio station which takes call-ins approx once a month or so. Canadians are way ahead of us with wind energy development. Home and land owners were initially very supportive. NOW they are furious…many leaving their homes because they are ill or cannot get any sleep. Recently a man called in to say his farrier told him he has to literally TRUCK horses from their farms if located near turbines because the horses are so jumpy….horses he used to be able to work on without problem before the turbines came along.
          I believe there is promise in wind energy, but they definitely need to change and stop acting like BIG BROTHER.

  11. avatar alf says:

    Obummer’s public lands and wildlife record is atrocious. I sometimes wonder if the only public lands he’s ever been on were Chicago playgrounds, shooting hoops; and if the only “wildlife” he’s aware of are park pigeons and (maybe) feral cats

  12. avatar topher says:

    I’ve often wondered about the Rockland wind farm on the Snake River below American Falls reservoir and how many migratory waterfowl one might find dead beneath them. It seems ridiculous to build a wind farm so near a major migratory flyway and so near a functioning hydroelectric dam. This is my favorite area to hunt waterfowl so say what you will about my my concern for the windmills taking some also. My biggest concern is for the Bald Eagles that winter along this stretch of river every year, in a single day of hunting I usually see 8-12 eagles and I’m sure I there’s more. The Rockland Valley is also a pretty popular spot for Goldens during the fall. Seems a little more thought could have gone into the placement of this wind farm.

    • avatar john says:

      (“Seems a little more thought could have gone into the placement of this wind farm.”)

      A lot of thought HAS gone into them..
      ..max profit for min cost & dont let anything get in the way of a cash cow !!!

    • avatar Gail says:

      Interesting sites. IF only! The first site has some informative feedback in “comments”. Also, I don’t see where the output is mentioned, so even if they do work as well as the conventional industrial turbines, it’s difficult to tell from the articles how they would compare in efficiency. Thanks for the links.

  13. avatar Richie G. says:

    Their are different designs of wind machines, one is like a spool of thread, with blades attached within. It rotates on two opposing magnets. So it is almost frictionless, is runs with much less mph of wind and is much more efficient. China is supposed to have some up and running. Their are small articles on this, but no government or engineering company has jumped on this. It’s been around for years and one problem they say is the resources for the magnets we do not have but Chins has the material. I will try to find the article.

  14. avatar Snaildarter says:

    Bird deaths are the dirty little secret of wind production, of course if we reach the tipping point of Global warming we will probably loose over a million species. The National Sierra Club (for example) thinks is an unfortunate but necessary tradeoff, however internally the debate rages across the SC membership. There is no free lunch when it comes to energy production let those who never throw on a light switch cast the first stone.

    • avatar Ida Lupine says:

      When will the tipping point be? I do think that while warming from human activities is on the rise, the doomsday scenarios are a bit overblown. Why kill animals today in the name of green energy, which we all know today is another way to make a profit, for what might not happen in the future, or speed the extinction of animals if it does? They don’t even consider bird conservation and put them deliberately in flyways. The amount of birds is hidden from the public.

      It is not a necessary tradeoff, no deliberate wasting of animal life for human need is.

      I feel I can cast a stone because I am careful about my light switches and don’t wast energy, drive a hybrid when I do drive, and have become a lot less wasteful. Until we do something about the millions of gas guzzler cars we drive in this country and the world – green power doesn’t mean much.

      • avatar Mark L says:

        Ida Lupine says,
        “Until we do something about the millions of gas guzzler cars we drive in this country and the world – green power doesn’t mean much.”

        Or, maybe attempt to take away their reason for getting into the car to begin with…(?)

  15. avatar Richie G. says:

    THE MAGLEV: The Super-powered Magnetic Wind Turbine

    by Mahesh Basantani, 11/26/07

    filed under: Renewable Energy, Wind Power

    I do not know if this is possible but it’s been around for a while. Their are different kinds of this product now but they still are using the conventional one for now.

  16. avatar Jim Wiegand says:

    What we are seeing here is essentially a pardon from this corrupt administration for 30 years of wind industry fraud.

    None of this should come as a surprise because the FWS has been covering for this industry for over 25 years. Covering for the industry is exactly why the FWS has “voluntary regulations” and they have avoided doing meaningful research or studies. They are also covering for the wind industry about the rapidly declining whopping crane population.
    Despite having the innocent sounding name, the FWS gives out “incidental take permits” to the wind industry. The killing of America’s rare species is not inadvertent or incidental because they have known for decades how devastating these turbines are to ALL birds and bats. No flying species are safe from these 200 mph blades and they never will be. They have kept all this secret with rigged studies.

    No amount of mitigation or compensation to conservation groups can ever offset what these killers are doing to the bird populations around the world. Yet these groups are satisfied with compensation for the wind industry’s slaughter to our most protected species.

    Wake up folks. The highly publicized FWS Eagle Conservation Plan has a nice name but it was NOT developed for eagles. It was done primarily so the wind industry could keep on expanding. Much of their future expansion is going to take place in wetland habitats that support bald eagles. They know they will be killing a lot of them and this will be their cover. This is why I call this plan for what it really is, “The Eagle Extermination Plan”.

    For the fools that do not believe hundreds of bald eagles are going to be chopped up each year by wind turbines, a story about dead eagles from Norway was released last week. Graphic images of fresh eagles cut in half are posted on the internet. Workers over the last 7 years have found 49 dead white-tailed sea eagles around just one wind farm with 68 turbines. If they found 49 bodies then as least twice that many were never found after wandering off to die or being eaten by scavengers. The white-tailed sea eagles are the European equivalent to America’s bald eagle. These Norway turbines are the same turbines going in all over America that the industry is claiming are safer. Like most that has been written about this industry these claims are not true.

    The sickest part about this is that the FWS and the wind industry have known all this for decades. Even so they deceive the people, planning departments, and communities so they can get these projects approved.

    I grew up with government corruption that turned this country upside down in the late 60’s. I can tell you from my research into this industry, it has never left.

  17. avatar Immer Treue says:

    Energy related… But all the fracking in the Dakotas has really eased the fuel situation, hasn’t it? Gas up here has gone up .70$ in less than a month. There is no other term for it than Gouging! Fishing opener, two weeks later Memorial Day. .50$ in last week. GOUGING!

  18. avatar Mark L says:

    David,
    BTW, just to be clear, I will agree that on a ‘dust to dust’ basis, wind power is by far the most benign. Yep, it’s got it’s issues like any others, but overall I do support it in most circumstances, compared to others. …there’s no free rides out there.

  19. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    From the response of the AWEA to the AP article:

    The number of total bird and eagle fatalities due to wind turbines is actually much lower than the AP story reports.

    From the AP article:

    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.

    I love the one and only comment to the response: Greenwashing.

  20. avatar aves says:

    While bald eagle populations are at least stable in the majority of their range, golden eagles are on the decline in many areas due to loss of habitat, declines in their primary prey of jackrabbits, and harvest (both legal and illegal) by Native Americans (http://www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/nongame/raptors/goldeneagle/docs/NAGoldenEagleScienceMeeting-2010-09-21.pdf). How the populations are affected by windmills is not relevant as far as the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act or Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Neither law has an exemption stating “it’s okay to kill these birds if someone says the population is fine”. Population level impacts are instead considered during the “incidental take” permit process but not as much as the agendas of presidential administrations or the political power of the wind industry. The current proposal to increase the permit period for killing eagles by a whopping 25 years makes it clear that even population level impacts do not have much influence in policy decisions. That is far too long a timeframe to predict how eagle populations will fare or act in time if they show a decline.

    Whooping cranes are next up. There is a cadre of windmills proposed along the migration route of the population that breeds in Alberta and winters in Texas. A current wind project in South Dakota has workers keep an eye out for whoopers during the migration periods and turns off all the turbines if the cranes are spotted nearby: (https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2013/05/03/whooping-cranes-spotted-near-south-dakota-wind-project/). But the USFWS is now considering authorizing the incidental take of whooping cranes (http://www.kcet.org/news/rewire/wind/feathers-fly-over-wind-turbine-threat-to-whooping-cranes.html#). If they allow the wind industry to kill whooping cranes what incentive will the industry have to locate windmills away from crane hotspots or to turn off turbines when cranes are present? None. If they allow an endangered species numbering only 400 in the wild to be killed what chance do other species have? None.

    Windmills can be much safer for wildlife if they are located away from areas with high probabilities of causing mortality or are turned off when rarer animals are present. We don’t have to choose between bad green policies and bad fossil fuel policies. It’s clear the Obama administration has its own agenda that doesn’t include wildlife conservation. They have made guidelines voluntary instead of mandatory, proposed to lengthen the incidental take permit period from 5 to 25 years, ignored FOI requests on wind power policy and wildlife mortality, and defended wind companies refusal to publicly disclose wildlife mortality. This is a clear pattern of disregard for both wildlife laws and wildlife conservation in an effort to push “green” industry and justify the billions of taxpayer subsidies to this industry. Obama is doing for “big green” what Bush and Cheney did for big oil. He seems more dishonest, inept, and indifferent with each passing news story.

    • avatar JB says:

      Aves:

      From my reading, the fastest growing source of mortality for bald eagles is vehicle collisions (i.e., accidents). How many of these folks pay fines for killing birds?

      Well-meaning enviros are blocking green[er] energy sources with these demands. Meanwhile, conventional energy extraction gets more and more harmful (e.g., fracking, deepwater horizon, Alberta tar sands, mountain-top removal, etc.) and continues to be subsidized.

      All I can do is shake my head when I hear you folks. Green[er] alternatives are just coming on line. The policies you folks advocate put these BETTER sources of power at a competitive disadvantage. I agree with you–it shouldn’t be an either/or decision. However, the political reality is that green[er] energy sources need every advantage in the short term. Of course, if we started paying the FULL cost of energy derived from fossil fuels, this wouldn’t be necessary. Until then, I’ll take me chances with the windmills.

      • avatar Ida Lupine says:

        Yes, ideally greener would be better. But we’re not getting that – green energy companies are following down the same path as fossil fuels in being dishonest. Incidental take permits for up to 30 years? Really? Not having to divulge bird mortality as a ‘trade secret’? Really? Until they act more like green energy and not fossil fuel companies, they’ll be fought every step of the way.

        For example, Mr. Koch is one of the anti-windfarm supporters where I am. The windfarm CEO has been courting him for years and would love for him to invest in the company. So say what you will, he has what everybody wants – his money. That’s the real green.

        • avatar JB says:

          ” But we’re not getting that – green energy companies are following down the same path as fossil fuels…”

          SOME companies, Ida. Bottom line: Condemning green[er] energy before it even takes off is FOOLHARDY. It will ONLY serve to perpetuate ever-intensifying fossil fuels extraction, which has much greater environmental costs.

          Whatever, there’s no point arguing with ideologues.

          • avatar Ida Lupine says:

            Yes, it is just getting off the ground, but the business model is the same old standby. Make their profit and ‘go bankrupt’ with the taxpayers and ratepayers left holding the bag. Government subsidy ought to be enough without the approval to circumvent laws put in place that have protected birds for decades in the name of green.

            • avatar Gail says:

              I 100% agree. They fold in the middle of the night and…pfffft! Gone. Or, they are owned by overseas companies, and on top of that, are layered by various other owners (who often cannot be found).
              And the promises, real or imagined, of “free energy” for areas that host the projects, seems to be a pipedream. Additionally, lower tax rates in these areas are a very rare event. Too many hidden surprises. If they WANTED to, the wind companies could do MUCH better, and they should begin with design as mentioned elsewhere in this thread.

              btw, according to this,vehicle collisions are not mentioned in the top five causes of eagle mortality. http://www.eagles.org/vu-study/survival/threats-to-survival.php

              • avatar JB says:

                “…according to this,vehicle collisions are not mentioned in the top five causes of eagle mortality.”

                Funny, you know what else was missing? Wind farms/mills/energy.

                I got my data from the following peer-reviewed publications, which reviewed raptor and bird mortality sources generally.

                Lutmerding et al. (2012, Journal of Raptor Research, 46:17-26) reviewed raptor encounter records from the 1920s through the 2000s, looking at changes in how banded birds were obtained. Most mortality sources were unidentified; of those sources that were identified, 1756 were injured birds, 1367 were in known motor-vehicle collisions, 99 were shot, and 76 caught in traps or snares (this is in the 2000s).

                Erickson et al. (2005, USDA Forest Service Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-191) reviewed mortality sources for birds generally, and include a discussion of windmills. Based upon an analysis of published estimates at the time, they estimated “933 raptors are killed annually (2003) by [wind] turbines in the United States”. They conclude:

                “Based on the estimates derived or reviewed in this paper, annual bird mortality from anthropogenic sources may easily approach 1 billion birds a year in the US alone (table 2). Buildings, power lines and cats are estimated to comprise approximately 82 percent of the mortality, vehicles 8 percent, pesticides 7 percent, communication towers 0.5 percent, and wind turbines 0.003 percent.

                Bring on the tinfoil hats!

              • avatar Ida Lupine says:

                Yes, we’ve heard about all the other causes of bird mortality ad nauseam. We know the hazards that all wildlife face in the modern world. Why keep adding to it? You can’t isolate one cause because it all adds up the same – dead birds. It’s like a child not wanting to accept responsibility and saying ‘Yeah but it wasn’t me it was Johnny who did it!’

                And the more large scale wind farms that are built and go on-line, the more birds will die, especially when nothing is done to take them to task about it by our government.

              • avatar JB says:

                “Buildings, power lines and cats are estimated to comprise approximately 82 percent of the mortality, vehicles 8 percent, pesticides 7 percent, communication towers 0.5 percent, and wind turbines 0.003 percent.”

                I’m just guessing, but I suspect everyone here lives in a building, the vast majority of which get energy via power lines, and I’m even willing to go out on a limb and guess many of you have cats. And of course, most of us drive motor vehicles and carry cell phones that use communication towers. Apparently all of these are greater sources of mortality (by orders of magnitude) than wind farms.

                Query: Anyone paid a fine for killing birds lately?

              • avatar JB says:

                “We know the hazards that all wildlife face in the modern world. Why keep adding to it?”

                Great point. Call me after you tear down your home, shoot your cat, sell your car, and give away your cell phone… (probably should unplug your computer too).

              • avatar Mike says:

                ++Great point. Call me after you tear down your home, shoot your cat, sell your car, and give away your cell phone… (probably should unplug your computer too).++

                I see the blatant logical fallacies are still thick as ever.

              • avatar Mike says:

                ++I’m just guessing, but I suspect everyone here lives in a building, the vast majority of which get energy via power lines, and I’m even willing to go out on a limb and guess many of you have cats. And of course, most of us drive motor vehicles and carry cell phones that use communication towers. Apparently all of these are greater sources of mortality (by orders of magnitude) than wind farms.

                Query: Anyone paid a fine for killing birds lately?
                ++

                This comparison doesn’t make any sense. We live in buildings because it’s the only way we know how to live. And we’ve designed our infrastructure to be based on motor vehicles, so we trapped ourselves there, too. But when it comes to where we get our power, we have choices.

                The cat comment is just bizarre.

              • avatar JB says:

                Just pointing out the wondrous hypocrisy on display here. Easy to tell somebody else he should pay a fine for killing birds, while you’re sitting at your computer sucking energy through lines that kill far more animals. Paid any fines lately, Mikey?


                By the way, it’s so “nice” to have you back and posting again. It’s great to have someone around with flawless reasoning, who is willing to painstakingly research topics of great import. [sarc]

              • avatar Mike says:

                ++By the way, it’s so “nice” to have you back and posting again. It’s great to have someone around with flawless reasoning, who is willing to painstakingly research topics of great import. [sarc]+=

                You’ve done a bang-up job in this thread with your “other diseases are worse, so we can ignore this one” argument. Lol.

              • avatar Rancher Bob says:

                I must admit that Mike’s comments bring a smile to my face, there he sits alone in Chicago with his books and whatever else he’s using for mind expansion, yet his comments usually nothing more than white noise in the background. Maybe Jeff E can change three dollar mike’s name to white noise mike.

              • avatar JB says:

                Never said “ignore”, Mikey (perhaps you should re-read the thread). It’s about making choices: conventional fossil fuels vs. green[er] alternatives. A rational cost/benefit analysis suggests the latter is the better path. Unless we adopt policies that put them on [at least] equal-footing, we will continue down the path of Alberta tar sands, Deep Horizon, Exxon-Valdez, mountain top removal, etc.

  21. avatar aves says:

    A minor correction for Dr. Maughan’s initial posting where he stated “..the doubly protected bald eagle (2 laws protect it) and the golden eagle (protected by the ESA).”

    Neither is protected by the ESA but both are protected by 2 laws: the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

  22. avatar Snaildarter says:

    These big turbines need to go in heavy airflow zones but so do migrating birds it’s a bad combination. Now there is a movement to put off shore wind turbines on the East Coast. I fear for shore birds, but I’m not sure we know enough about off shore ecology to know what damage to expect. It is all very troubling. The choices to stop GW are all bad but GW is worse. Sometimes when I get depressed about it all I think of Ed Abbey’s ‘God’s plan for Utah.” “Get rid of half of them” he was referring to humans. But half might not be enough for Ed at today’s population levels.

  23. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    You should know that our electrical usage has dropped by 1 kwh per day (we only pay .059 cents per kwh because we are on municipal power and trashburning contributes to some of our power) and I only used 8 gallons of gasoline for two weeks in my Prius. I keep my thermostat at 63 degrees in winter. I do have a computer and a bare bones cellphone, but do not continually upgrade them for the latest and the greatest. I don’t have solar panels yet, but am considering it.

    So yeah, I feel I can throw as many stones as I want to at so-called Big Green energy.

  24. avatar Mark L says:

    All, remember we are talking about raptors…specifically eagles, not all birds, as far as deaths go. i.e. That would be one badass cat that could take an eagle.

    • avatar JB says:

      Hey, I gave the published mortality sources for raptors too (again, estimated at 933/year in 2003). But I’m curious as to why we should exclude other birds from the conversation, especially given that bald eagles are not endangered (their populations are actually increasing), while many other species of birds are actually in need of immediate attention?

      Here’s the mortality table from Erickson et al. (citation above):

      Table 2–Summary of predicted annual avian mortality.

      Mortality source – Annual mortality
      Buildings – 550 million 58.2 percent
      Power lines – 130 million 13.7 percent
      Cats – 100 million 10.6 percent
      Automobiles – 80 million 8.5 percent
      Pesticides – 67 million 7.1 percent
      Communications towers – 4.5 million 0.5 percent
      Wind turbines – 28.5 thousand <0.01 percent
      Airplanes – 25 thousand <0.01 percent
      Other sources – not calculated

      • avatar Mike says:

        The problem with your argument is that bald eagles and golden eagles are only common in very few places.

        There are about 30,000 golden eagles in the lower 48, and they do not like human presence or structures. Bald eagles are a little more forgiving. In 2006 there were 9700 breeding pairs of bald eagles in the lower 48. Quite a lot you say? No, not really. You see, the upper midwest is really the stronghold for them, up there in that forested lake country of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota. It was this area that replenished the nation.

        When you go by state totals, the rest of the lower 48 is rather lacking. So when you start whacking bald eagles in Arizona or Colorado, you start killing off the population:

        http://www.fws.gov/midwest/eagle/population/nos_state_tbl.html

    • avatar Ida Lupine says:

      That would be one badass cat that could take an eagle.

      For sure. This is the comeback for that artment. Housecats don’t kill raptors. Golden Eagles can take lambs, according to some. So which is it?

  25. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    Bird Death Fines Depend On Who Kills The Birds

    From the AP Article:

    Last year, over objections from some of its own wildlife investigators and biologists, the Interior Department updated its guidelines and provided more cover for wind companies that violate the law.

    No environmental review for the 30-year extension of take permits because this is just an “administrative” change. Good God.

    • avatar Gail says:

      Hope JB read this.

      • avatar JB says:

        Sure did! I see the USFWS’s 2009 estimate was 440,000 total bird deaths from wind farms. Using Erickson et al’s estimate of 1 billion human-caused bird deaths per year, it seems wind farms account for .04% of human-caused bird mortality–and they’re still an order of magnitude behind the next next greatest morality source, communications towers (4.5 million bird deaths).

        • avatar Ida Lupine says:

          But as you say, they are just getting on the ground. There will be a lot more deaths than there are right now. And it appears it is unpredictable from that study you provided.

          • avatar JB says:

            Actually, studies show there are factors associated with mortality that help in the siting of wind farms. And I’m all for bird and bat friendly technologies. What I don’t understand is your ideological opposition to green[er] sources of energy. We are going to continue to use energy in the future; why not get it from the greenest possible sources?

            • avatar Ida Lupine says:

              Now don’t try to play games, JB. I’ve explained it many times. I’m not against green technologies – I’m against the way they are being implemented, and agree with this article. Idealogue depends one one’s vantage point, I think. I could ask you and other why they think they are a panacea and refuse to see their negatives.

              As far as tradeoffs – who is making them? The wind industry is writing their own rules, subsidized by the government, and doesn’t have regulatory impediments. The NIMBY crowd doesn’t have to look at them because they are in the desert. The only thing making the concession, as usual, are in the environment. And the most asinine comments from average citizens such as ‘the desert animals and plants can use some shade’. Nevermind the fact that they have adapted to these conditions for millennia.

              Why can’t these things go on rooftops and in parking lots? Nothing could ‘use some shade’ like an LA parking lot and I can attest to that personnally.

              • avatar JB says:

                “I could ask you and other why they think they are a panacea and refuse to see their negatives.”

                I see the negatives, Ida; however, I don’t see the rhetoric above as accurately reflecting the costs associated with wind. Indeed, there seems to be a lot of hot air being blown (and it isn’t originating in the wind farms). Moreover, I do not see any one acknowledging the alternatives –i.e., the status quo. Saying ‘we should conserve more’ is fine. Great. I agree. But that isn’t a solution. We still need energy, and we need it to come from other sources–and fast.

                I don’t think the wind industry should get a free pass, and I agree that we (i.e., our society) should adopt policies that encourage rooftop wind and solar. (But take note: The price of these will drop markedly with mass production, and their efficiencies will improve when large companies see them as a worthwhile investment). But we don’t have time to fight among each other, we need green[er] technologies to be competitive NOW.

              • avatar Ida Lupine says:

                We still need energy, and we need it to come from other sources–and fast.

                OK. Now I understand. I wish we had gotten on board with this years ago (we were warned), and done the necessary research properly and not on the fly. Let’s hope the bird and other populations can adapt and don’t disappear in the meantime. I worry that companies will balk at bird-saving technologies because of being too expensive, especially with the anti-regulatory time we live in. They need to be encouraged to take protection steps by the Obama administration, not the opposite.

            • avatar Ida Lupine says:

              Yes it does! But the current wind companies aren’t following these suggestions, and the new ones – who knows because they are getting a 30-year pass. But I guess we should just take them at their word.

        • avatar Mark L says:

          Just to be sure we are on the same page here, Erickson’s study is of US only or North America? I’m guessing USFWS is US only.

  26. avatar Mike says:

    I don’t know about you guys, but JB has convinced me with his “other things are worse, so let’s not worry about this new bad thing” argument.

  27. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    Unless we adopt policies that put them on [at least] equal-footing, we will continue down the path of Alberta tar sands, Deep Horizon, Exxon-Valdez, mountain top removal, etc.

    I dunno – renewables are never going to replace fossil fuels entirely, at least for the forseeable future. So now we’ll have all that, and more! Because wind and solar, on large scales at least, present their own environmental problems. And fossil fuels will continue to be the dominant form of energy used by this country and promoted by this administration.

    Rooftop solar would seem to be the answer for large cities – I don’t know why it isn’t being done more. It must not be profitable, and it is definitely too expensive for the average homeowners. Why not help the homeowner and business owner as well as corporations?

    Some of these mega solar farms are getting awfully close to mountaintop removal. Grading the landscape and removing acres of trees.

    And why isn’t ‘using less’ ever an option?

    • avatar JB says:

      “I dunno – renewables are never going to replace fossil fuels entirely, at least for the forseeable future. So now we’ll have all that, and more!”

      This is where you are absolutely wrong. It’s a matter of understanding incentives. Fossil fuels are becoming harder and harder (read=more expensive) to extract. If we can make green[er] sources of energy cheaper then the more expensive, more damaging types of extraction will not be seen as good investments. High risk projects like the Alberta tar sands will be the first to go because the cost of extraction will be too great for them to compete.

      So yeah, we will always, at least into the foreseeable future, have some fossil fuel extraction. However, if we incentivize green[er] sources of energy, the most destructive types of fossil fuels will be the first to go.

  28. avatar Mark L says:

    Using less? In a society where we are told to go buy new things or our economy will dry up? Get outta here with all that crazy talk about using less…consume, consume, consume. It will make us all rich, right? Right? Wait, who moved my cheese?

    (I agree with you)

  29. avatar aves says:

    Windmills are missing from the mortality papers JB googled because green energy is, in JB’s words, “just getting off the ground” and “just coming on line”. The wind industry’s government approved practice of hiding mortalities from the public under the guise of trade secrets also factors into their omission.

    But it’s not just about eagles. If the incidental take permit for killing bald and golden eagles is extended to 30 years then it will likely be set to 30 years for other species. If incidental take permits for killing whooping cranes are allowed then so will permits for California condors, piping plovers and other federally endangered species. If the industry is allowed to hide current wildlife mortality then they will do so for endangered species too. The South Dakota windmill I referenced earlier will have no reason to shut their turbines down when migrating whooping cranes are spotted nor to report how many cranes they kill.

    If the Obama administration and the wind industry get everything they want now there will be no incentive for future windmills to reduce wildlife mortality. The standard set now will be the standard for the future. It will be deemed too costly to change already established windmills. The wind industry will follow the fossil fuel industry in following the standard operating procedure of a total disregard for wildlife. It will help them compete in the marketplace but will also keep wildlife friendly windmills from being able compete in the future.

    Here are some resources on how to make know how to make windmills safer for birds and bats:

    (http://www.abcbirds.org/abcprograms/policy/collisions/wind_policy.html)

    (http://www.batsandwind.org/)

    • avatar Gail says:

      “The wind industry’s government approved practice of hiding mortalities from the public under the guise of trade secrets also factors into their omission.”

      Absolutely. And in alignment with other energy developers, they label what they want to hide from the public as “proprietary”. That’s supposed to make us go away.

      • avatar Ida Lupine says:

        It’s very cold-blooded. But I don’t think they can hide behind this when laws are being broken.

        It is absolutely shocking to me that environmental groups are so mum about all this. Nothing could be more misguided – global warming is a threat brought on by human overpopulation. The truth is it’s never going away as long as the population keeps growing and consuming and wasting. It’s not all a bed of roses in Europe either.

    • avatar JB says:

      Here is another recent scientific study on raptors and wind farms. Draw your own conclusions–oh wait, you already have. 😉

      Lucas et al. 2008. Journal of Applied Ecology, 45(6):1695-1703.

      1
      The number of wind farms is increasing worldwide. Despite their purported environmental benefits, wind energy developments are not without potential adverse impacts on the environment, and the current pace and scale of development proposals, combined with a poor understanding of their impacts, is a cause for concern.
      2
      Avian mortality through collision with moving rotor blades is one of the main adverse impacts of wind farms, yet long-term studies are rare. We analyse bird fatalities in relation to bird abundance, and test several factors which have been hypothesized to be associated with bird mortality.
      3
      Bird abundance was compared with collision fatality records to identify species-specific death risk. Failure time analysis incorporated censored mortality data in which the time of event occurrence (collision) was not known. The analysis was used to test null hypotheses of homogeneity in avian mortality distribution according to several factors.
      4
      There was no clear relationship between species mortality and species abundance, although all large-bird collision victims were raptors and griffon vulture Gyps fulvus was most frequently killed. Bird mortality and bird abundance varied markedly among seasons, but mortality was not highest in the season with highest bird abundance. Mortality rates of griffon vultures did not differ significantly between years.
      5
      Bird collision probability depended on species, turbine height (taller = more victims) and elevation above sea level (higher = more victims), implicating species-specific and topographic factors in collision mortality. There was no evidence of an association between collision probability and turbine type or the position of a turbine in a row.
      6
      Synthesis and applications. Bird abundance and bird mortality through collision with wind turbines were not closely related; this result challenges a frequent assumption of wind-farm assessment studies. Griffon vulture was the most frequently killed species, and species-specific flight behaviour was implicated. Vultures collided more often when uplift wind conditions were poor, such as on gentle slopes, when thermals were weak, and when turbines were taller at higher elevations. New wind installations and/or repowering of older wind farms with griffon vulture populations nearby, should avoid turbines on the top of hills with gentle slopes.

      • avatar Ida Lupine says:

        The number of wind farms is increasing worldwide. Despite their purported environmental benefits, wind energy developments are not without potential adverse impacts on the environment, and the current pace and scale of development proposals, combined with a poor understanding of their impacts, is a cause for concern.

        The study makes the point that windfarms should be sited to take bird flight habits into consideration to lessen unavoidable conflict – avoid height, hilltops, etc.

        http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/ockhamsrazor/bird-strikes-at-wind-farms/4668750
        I don’t think Altamont Pass is going to re-site to make these concessions now.

        The Altamont Pass wind farm in northern California was established in 1982 and has 5,400 wind turbines. Sadly, it was constructed in a major raptor migration corridor with the highest concentration of Golden Eagles in North America. Consequently, the turbines killed from 880 to 1,300 raptors each year, mainly Burrowing Owls and Red-tailed Hawks, but also up to 116 Golden Eagles.

        • avatar Ida Lupine says:

          cont.

          Some reports say that 4,700 birds were killed annually at Altamont Pass, but I have chosen to use the more conservative figures provided by the San Francisco Center for Biological Diversity. Whatever the actual figure was, in my view, the wind farm should have been closed down immediately. It was not. Instead, the operators introduced a rodent control program, presumably on the basis that without this food source the raptors would not be so prevalent. However, the rodent control program threatened endangered species of foxes, frogs and salamanders and actually increased the risk to birds of prey.

          Humans keep making this problem worse, because that’s how we roll.

        • avatar WM says:

          If anyone wants to speculate about the absolute worst in avian mortality, and observe the aesthetic blight on a large scale treeless landscape do check out Altamont Pass at Interstate 580 east of San Francisco. It is an absolute shocker (I rarely use that term), coming in to SF after visiting some place wild/rural like Yosemite NP.

          And, if you are unable to see it in person, check it out on Google Earth – almost continuous north-south lines of turbines running for miles. Looks like wavvy stripes on the ground from the air (with nodules where the turbines sit, and ancillary access roads that wind their way up to ridges to services the towers and turbines). Google earth search term: Altamont Pass, CA …..then zoom in.

      • avatar aves says:

        Nothing in this study convinces me to support increasing the eagle permit period by 6x, allowing wind companies to hide wildlife mortality, or letting them kill endangered whooping cranes. In fact points 5 and 6 that you highlighted are exactly what I’ve been advocating for, the proper design, operation and placement windmills.

      • avatar Gail says:

        “Draw your own conclusions–oh wait, you already have.”

        Uhh…let’s not go there, okay JB? Sharing ideas is one thing, but being a wise guy really isn’t necessary. Though many of us do have opinions about this, I’d say so far they are fairly educated ones.

        • avatar SaveBears says:

          LMFAO

        • avatar JB says:

          Gail:

          Apologies if you feel I over-reacted. I’m not sure “educated” is the best term. There’s a lot of information being tossed around–that’s for sure. My point is that when one moves beyond sensationalized newspaper and magazine articles and looks at the scientific literature, the doomsday predictions being cited above seem like a lot of hot air (pun intended).

          • avatar Ida Lupine says:

            I don’t know about that. I think there’s a lot of hype about the new technologies and also climate change, one reason as always is that there’s a lot of money involved. For example, HP had an article blaming the collapse of fish stocks on climate change, when we all know it is due to overfishing, feeding a mega population and bigger, better and not-so-environmentally friendly technologies and methods of catch. Climate change is just more of the same. Fishermen also fight with regulators regarding catch limits and have for decades, and the regulators cave in, and have for decades. It would appear that it is already too late to do anything meaningful about climate change anyway, other than to adapt to the effects of it. We’ll have a very different world in the future.

            We don’t need pompous hot air condescension to people’s very necessary questions, opinions and concerns.

            Same old approach – a Spanish study showing very high bird losses has been quashed and discredited by Big Wind. Pun also intended. 🙂

            If they have nothing to hide about bird deaths, publish the information. Don’t ask for 30-year incidental takes with no environmental review because it looks like there’s something to hide.

            Some environmental groups like Sierra Club remind me of the mirror image of RMEF – their original founders would be turning in their grave to see what the organizations have become.

          • avatar aves says:

            We have simply been advocating for the proper design, operation, and placement of windmills to minimize wildlife mortality. We don’t want wildlife mortality to be kept secret or for the permit for killing bald and golden eagles to be extended by 25 years. We don’t want the same thing to happen to whooping cranes, piping plovers, and California condors. We don’t want another situation like Altamont and recognize now is the time to shape the industry.

            You have responded by insulting us, misrepresenting our positions, making contradictory statements and cherry picking scientific literature. All of which is disrespectful, unproductive and makes it seem like you just want to argue.

            • avatar JB says:

              In a word: horsepucky. There are all manner of absurd, conspiratorial comments above–nearly all of which cite magazine articles, as opposed to the peer-reviewed literature. The tone and content of a lot of what is above are eerily similar to the rhetoric of the anti-wolf fanatics, who try to convince people they should be afraid. If your purpose was to fear-monger, congratulations–you’ve done an excellent job. And by the way, I find this type of rhetoric, which misrepresents the facts, to be “disrespectful” and “unproductive”. My admittedly brief review of the literature was only biased insomuch as I looked for larger, meta-analytic studies as opposed to opinion pieces or studies that extrapolate from one site. On that note, interesting that you should mention Altamont, where problems have been an order of magnitude greater than other sites–far from representative of what generally occurs. (Whose guilty of “cherry picking” the science?)

              I don’t want to argue–and I certainly don’t advocate keeping bird mortalities secret. I would, however, like to see some rational accounting of the costs and benefits associated with green[er] energy, as opposed to fear-mongering and ideological opposition.

              • avatar Ida Lupine says:

                We don’t have much peer-reviewed literature to go on.

              • avatar Ida Lupine says:

                Altamont continues, and will under any new guidelines of 30-year incidental take. They have the worst record, so it isn’t chery picking to hold them up as exemplary of the industry. We don’t know that they are not representative of the industry because there isn’t much data, and windfarms generally are placed in bad locations for birds. If they are not representative, then they should be closed down until they are up to ‘standards’.

                They are, I have read, replacing the old technology turbines with newer.

              • avatar JB says:

                “We don’t have much peer-reviewed literature to go on.”

                From Erickson et al. (2005, USDA Forest Service Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-191)

                Location of study – Raptor mort./turbine/year

                Stateline, Oregon/WA – .053
                Vansycle, OR – .000
                Klondike, OR – .000
                Nine Canyon, WA – .065
                Foote Creek Rim, WY – 0.35
                Wisconsin (MG&E & PSC) – .000
                Buffalo Ridge, MT – .002
                Buffalo MT, TN – .0002
                Altamont, CA – .100
                Montezuma Hills, CA – .048
                San Gorgonio, CA – .01

              • avatar Ida Lupine says:

                I think it is unfair to discredit people who have concerns about bird mortality as you are doing. It is not similar to anit-wolf rhetoric because there are real facts to go on, such as from the USFWS, who confirm that not only is there no data, but that we are ‘plunging headlong into wind power’ without enough of it. There’s not only collision deaths, but habitat fragmentation. But, it’s what we do. I don’t think people who have concerns should have their credibility called into question.

                http://greatlakeswindtruth.org/categoryblog/75-wind-turbines-could-kill-millions.html

                I think the approach is all wrong – proposing a target deadline to meet sets up this kind of scenario where meeting the goal is the only thing that is important. Bird and bat mortality is too big of an issue to dismiss, when combined with all of the other hazards wildlife face in our modern world, at least to me. There’s more to it than just wind energy is benefical to people. I can’t support something that doesn’t take wildlife into consideration. To me, it’s only marginally better than fossil fuels.

                It will be expensive to ratepayers, and subsidized by taxpayers. But I would gladly support greener energy if these questions would be answered. It appears that the wind and solar industry would rather hide facts from the public, and profit is what is most important.

              • avatar JB says:

                Ida:

                I just gave you published estimates from 11 sites. This data is from a 2005 review and cites a variety of sources. Data insufficiency is a common argument used by opponents of an environmental action.

              • avatar aves says:

                I am glad we agree that mortalities should not be kept secret. I wonder what other points we could agree on if you’d maintain your composure. I’ve clearly stated my desire for future windmills to be designed, operated, and placed with wildlife in mind. Is that really “fear mongering”? Care to identify the “absurd, conspiratorial comments” I’ve made or “magazine articles” I’ve referenced or where I’ve “misrepresented the facts”? I’d genuinely like to know because I have no idea what you are talking about. A brief review:

                The USFWS has proposed increasing the eagle permits from 5 to 30 years. In my opinion this could jeopardize populations by not allowing for timely review and responsive measures, mainly in the case of the golden eagle. Yes, the golden eagle (the kind of eagle you’ve never mentioned in this discussion) which is declining in many areas as seen in the raptor specialist group’s document I referenced. Do you disagree about the status of golden eagles? Do you disagree that a 30 year time frame doesn’t leave adequate room for responding to higher mortality or population impact? Do you really want the permit extended by a magnitude of 6?

                The USFWS has proposed granting permits for killing whooping cranes and, not co-incidentally, there are many proposed windmills along the migration route of the whooping crane. I referenced one windmill in South Dakota that gets it right, they hire people to watch for the cranes during their spring and fall migration and turn off the turbines when one is sighted. I’m concerned that if the permits are granted the South Dakota windmill will no longer take those costly measures and will kill whooping cranes. I predict that if the whooping crane permits are granted so will permits for piping plovers (which use the same migration route). I predict that if the eagle permits go to 30 years that the permits for endangered species will eventually, if not immediately, go beyond 5 years as well. Do you want windmills put up along the migration route of whooping cranes? Do you want there to be permits to kill whooping cranes? If permits are granted do you think the SD windmill will keep looking out for cranes? Do you think future permits will be confined to only eagles and whooping cranes?

                I mentioned the worst of the worst example in Altamont because it is the whole point of what I would like to avoid, a ton of turbines right in the middle of a known raptor migration route. Wouldn’t you like to avoid that too?

              • avatar JB says:

                I’ve clearly stated my desire for future windmills to be designed, operated, and placed with wildlife in mind. Is that really “fear mongering”? Care to identify the “absurd, conspiratorial comments”

                Aves:

                I wrote: “There are all manner of absurd, conspiratorial comments above…” I did not single you out, until you held up Altamont. I invite you to re-read the posts above in their entirety and then tell me you disagree with my assessment about their nature.

                Here are a few winners:

                Fear-mongering: “For the fools that do not believe hundreds of bald eagles are going to be chopped up each year by wind turbines, a story about dead eagles from Norway was released last week. Graphic images of fresh eagles cut in half are posted on the internet.”

                Conjecture: “Although I have no statistics, I strongly believe the reason they will continue to be rammed down our throats for a while is because everyone got on the bandwagon a few years back with manufacturing them, so now the turbines are STOCKPILED and I’m sure they will be used up before anything new comes along.”

                Factually innaccurate claims: “…renewables are never going to replace fossil fuels entirely, at least for the forseeable future. So now we’ll have all that, and more!”

                Conspiracy theories: “Obama=Bush. Old boss same as new boss. Obama is controlled by the same corporations that funded and directed Bush.”

                Fear-mongering + Conspiracy : “The bald eagle population will be rapidly declining just as the golden eagle and whopping cranes have. Hundreds of other species will also be decimated. ALL FROM WIND TURBINES AND HIDDEN WITH BOGUS STUDIES.”

                Then you write:

                “You have responded by insulting us, misrepresenting our positions, making contradictory statements and cherry picking scientific literature. All of which is disrespectful, unproductive and makes it seem like you just want to argue

                I’ll point out that I’ve been the ONLY person here that is responding to such absurdities…

          • avatar Gail says:

            Thanks for your response, JB. I just can’t see the point in demeaning other’s perspectives.
            I feel “educated” IS appropriate for many here. I have personal experience with spending almost two years having periodic meetings with a wind developer who came to my town submitting an application for approx 56 wind turbines…the 400 footers. As I mentioned earlier on, they (well, their legal rep) was outraged that I’d dare inquire about post-construction bird studies. Friends and neighbors who signed agreements were “gagged”. Even a discussion about locating them farther than 1200′ from residences was met with threats of killing the project because it would not be “viable”. No disccusion, and my town was dumb enough to follow along. I fought for almost 1 1/2 years to get the project distance from WETLANDS more than 100 feet, as well as to extend the distance from an IBA. They showed no environmental concerns except for what the state agency would mandate. It occurred to me that potentially seeing my property value drop would be no small matter, and since savings are kind of on the low side, the house and property value are what will get us through retirement years which are just about upon us. I truly believe they began to gag any info about property depreciation, but I now know there’s enough information that has come to light over the past few years to confirm that there IS A PROBLEM. We are close to the Canadian border and they were so rah rah about the turbines….but not now. As I say, I’d sooner take my cues from those with *experience* than from scientific journals. It would be nice if it was one of those situation where you could make a reasonable sacrifice for the “greater good”, but unless they’re out in the boondocks somewhere, people are being extremely adversely affected. Heck, the turbines only produce approx 1/3 of what they tell you. Overall, a BIG issue is lack of trust in the developers and deservedly so. But I’m happy to say “our” wind developer pulled up stakes and went to Texas. Doesn’t mean another won’t come along.

            I’d like to highlight what aves wrote:

            “We have simply been advocating for the proper design, operation, and placement of windmills to minimize wildlife mortality……[we]recognize now is the time to shape the industry.”

            I concur 100%. Now is definitely the time.

            • avatar Ida Lupine says:

              “We have simply been advocating for the proper design, operation, and placement of windmills to minimize wildlife mortality……[we]recognize now is the time to shape the industry.”

              So do I. This shouldn’t be considered outrageous.

              And I don’t see what is so factually inaccurate about saying that for the forseeable future – we will not be discontinuing the use of gas, oil and coal, and that renewables won’t replace them entirely. So we will continue to have the disasters associated with them, and also the ones that we have minimized about renewables, such as the documented bird and bat mortality, habitat fragmentation, and a host of others.

  30. avatar Snaildarter says:

    The environmental groups are the ones pushing Obama to support wind and solar, duh!!!
    Pretty much all the atmospheric scientists who don’t work for the Koch Brothers or Exxon (aka Standard Oil of New Jersey) think we are in big trouble with Global Climate Change and their estimates get worse every day. So alternative energy sources are a very big issue for many eco-organizations like the Sierra Club. Birds and bats are killed by turbines, big solar farms ruin desert eco-systems, everyone is afraid of nuclear, hydro power dams are an ecological disaster in to many ways to recount here. The solution ( if there is one) would be conservation, local solar on roof tops, maybe they really can develop wind turbines that kill fewer bats and birds, in stream mini hydro-power, thermal power, but these are small local projects and Big Power companies like to do things on a huge scale so they can maintain their monopoly.

    • avatar Ida Lupine says:

      Yes. And there is no incentive for them to develop wind safer turbines under the current system. It isn’t a priority and that’s a big problem.

      JB, we know of all the studies – in Europe there are studies that show high bird mortality, and they’ve been at it longer than we have.

      Speaking of mountaintop removal here’s a sobering article on those massive solar farms in California. I found this passage escpecially sad:

      The bargaining table

      Mainstream environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, the Wilderness Society, Defenders of Wildlife and the Natural Resources Defense Council, have been largely mute, having traded the picket line for a seat at the table when development plans were drawn.

      The Center for Biological Diversity, one of the nation’s most aggressively litigious environmental groups, has not challenged the Ivanpah project. It signed a confidential agreement not to oppose the project in exchange for concessions for the desert tortoise — mandating that BrightSource buy land elsewhere for conservation.

      Some 24 environmental groups signed statements largely supporting the aims of solar developers. National environmental groups joined BrightSource and other solar companies in a letter sent Dec. 14 to the White House, asking the president to continue a federal renewable-energy subsidy.

      The national office of the Sierra Club has had to quash local chapters’ opposition to some solar projects, sending out a 42-page directive making it clear that the club’s national policy goals superseded the objections of a local group. Animosity bubbled over after a local Southern California chapter was told to refrain from opposing solar projects.

      Federal officials, solar companies and environmental groups argue that the urgency brought on by climate change has forced difficult trade-offs.

      “We did the best we could,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in an interview. The goal, he added, has been to make sure the projects are “the least environmentally intrusive.”

      It’s a real ‘Sophie’s Choice’, and while I think the effects of climate change are real, it is being overblown. There are other, less drastic ways of managing it. Rooftops, parking lots, capped landfills, etc. We don’t have to ruin a desert landscape permanently.

      The Solar Power Compromise

      • avatar Ida Lupine says:

        Opposition instead has come from the federal government. (Who knew? 🙂 )

        The National Park Service has voiced the strongest complaints about the scale and siting of solar projects. California’s desert parks — Joshua Tree, Death Valley and the Mojave National Preserve — have the most acreage affected by the development.

        The Department of Defense also has raised questions. The Pentagon has the China Lake weapons testing facility, Ft. Irwin, Edwards Air Force Base, Twentynine Palms Marine base and the Chocolate Mountain Naval Aerial Gunnery Range.

        The military, whose pilots often trace the contours of the desert floor from 200 feet, is concerned about maneuvering around 460-foot solar towers. The Marines have asked the companies for more information about the glare produced by a vast carpet of solar reflectors.

        The Federal Aviation Administration has voiced concerns about the heat plume rising from the Ivanpah towers and about the installation’s possible radar interference.

        Schramm, who retired last December as superintendent at Mojave National Preserve, found himself at odds with the Interior Department, his own parent agency, in defending the 900 species of plants and 300-plus species of animals in the preserve, especially the desert tortoise.

        “For the life of the projects, that habitat is lost to the desert tortoise. It’s ‘Pack your bags, you’re leaving,’ ” he said. “So while you are trying to recover the species, you take away the habitat?”

        Schramm sees the vast desert, with a tenuous constituency that cares about it, as a pawn in a high-stakes financial gambit played out by multinational companies. (Otherwise known as Same Game, Different Players)

        “Some of these projects are going to fail,” he said. “These are big businesses chasing federal dollars — they don’t care if they fail. They got what they want.”

        Should that happen, he said, the species that rely on the arid and austere Mojave will be out of luck.

        “If these companies pull out and attempt to restore the land — if they can — it will take a long time,” he said. “It will be 100 years. It might be 200 years. That’s how long it would take to restore the desert.”

        I think the above might be a bad link:

        http://articles.latimes.com/2012/feb/05/local/la-me-solar-desert-20120205

      • avatar JB says:

        Ida:

        I say, “good for them”! It’s nice to have environmental groups out there that recognize trade-offs, weigh the costs and benefits of various alternatives, and make the hard choices. Ideological opposition gets you exactly nowhere.

        And I’ll say this: I’ve spoken recently with two different climatologists who game me nearly identical assessments of the global climate change debacle. Bottom line: it’s worse than we thought, and our best current technological alternative is solar. I was particularly moved by a presentation that started with a tiny red dot on a map of northern Africa. The red dot represented the amount of land that would need to be covered in solar panels to provide all of the world’s estimated power by 2050. The lands that would be covered were in the middle of the Sahara desert, which is about the size of the United States, and among the least biologically productive areas on earth.

        • avatar Ida Lupine says:

          This sounds a lot like all of the people in the world could all stand shoulder to shoulder in the state of Florida from the deniers! Both extremes on the climate debate are ‘out there’ if you ask me. It’s either the sky is falling or head in the sand.

          We’ll see. But so far pushing these products forward in a blind panic too late and without enough research to back it up is nearly as bad for the environment as fossil fuels (which aren’t going away any time soon either.)

  31. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    It really is cutting off our nose to try and save our face, and it is going to be a failure that cannot be repaired.

    I will never support these groups ever.

  32. avatar JB says:

    Ida:

    Please, please take the time to watch the video below. It’s a presentation from 2011 given by Dr. David Karowe, an ecologist at Western Michigan University, who is discussing the threat posed by climate change to wildlife. The video is long (~1 hour), but well worth watching. If you’re in a hurry, the take-home message is from 50:45 – 56:00, where Dr. Karowe discusses how to avoid climate change, and in particular, alternatives to conventional energy production. (Note: the sound is very poor quality, so you’ll have to crank your speakers.)

    • avatar Ida Lupine says:

      I’ll listen – but you must know that there are people getting involved with these projects who don’t care about climate change at all, just making a profit.

      I’ve got to leave, but have a good day, all,

    • avatar JB says:

      From Dr. David Karowe’s presentation:

      “Wind power…just using onshore turbines…could supply 16 times current U.S. electricity demand.”

      “A concentrated solar array of 100 x 100 miles could provide all of U.S. electricity today.”

      Using a concentrated solar array…”A small portion of the Sahara desert could supply all of Europe’s electricity…or all of the world’s…it’s really phenomenal that we aren’t using this technology.”

      • avatar john says:

        (“A concentrated solar array of 100 x 100 miles could provide all of U.S. electricity today.”)

        And what you going to do at night…sit in the dark ??

        Or use fossil stations who will have to charge 3 or 4 times as much for their power as they still have to burn fuel inefficiently to keep them hot plus repeated stop starts wreak the machines (thermal stress) & shorten their life
        Big coal & nuclear stations take days to switch on & off.

        (”A small portion of the Sahara desert could supply all of Europe’s electricity…or all of the world’s…it’s really phenomenal that we aren’t using this technology.” )

        You don’t know much about power engineering do you !!

        • avatar Ida Lupine says:

          He claimed that it is possible to make solar cells that store energy for use at night, and also better battery technology is possible. Also a solar/steam technology. At least that was my understanding. Why aren’t we doing it then?

        • avatar JB says:

          “And what you going to do at night…sit in the dark ??”

          Today we have this neat new technology called batteries–you might have heard of them? Well, they’re getting better all the time! 😉 In all seriousness, thermal energy storage (via a variety of technologies) converts solar to heat, and then from heat, back to electricity so that it can be used at night.

          “Or use fossil stations who will have to charge 3 or 4 times as much for their power as they still have to burn fuel inefficiently to keep them hot plus repeated stop starts wreak the machines (thermal stress) & shorten their life…”

          I read this three times and have no idea what you are saying?

          “You don’t know much about power engineering do you !!”

          You got me there! That’s why I rely on scientists and engineers to tell me what’s possible. And for the record, the idea of a “grand solar plan” for providing the vast majority of the US’s energy needs has been around for awhile. You might be interested in the article below (Scientific American, 2007), which essentially makes the same claims I cited above. (Apparently I’m not the only one who doesn’t know much about power engineering.) 😉

          http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=a-solar-grand-plan

          • avatar Ida Lupine says:

            I can understand trade-offs of land intensive alternatives to fossil fuels for the basics of energy required for human life – but it does seem sad that wildlife are getting the boot from their habitat so that Las Vegas can have energy, and water can be wasted for fountains in the desert. 🙁

            • avatar Ida Lupine says:

              Sigh. Now on that beautiful drive across the Mojave, I’ll probably be blinded by mirrors. I hope the Joshua Trees will survive. They are on shaky ground already. 🙁

          • avatar john says:

            JB says:
            May 18, 2013 at 2:21 pm

            ( “(Apparently I’m not the only one who doesn’t know much about power engineering.)

            True !!

            I read the contents of your link (it’s a revamp of ideas postulated in Popular Science back in the 1950s), lots of good aspirational concepts …BUT as soon as you start putting real life figures in,…. the whole thing unravels.
            Trouble is you are starting off with a very low density energy source (Energy densities – see tables 1 & 4 -http://www.drexel.edu/~/media/Files/greatworks/pdf_sum10/WK8_Layton_EnergyDensities.ash ), only available for part of the day.
            Then with each phase of production/storage/transmission you suffer considerable losses.

            The whole concept is flawed & concentrating most of your power generation in a small area of the country is stupid, no government would be that insane. A natural disaster (such as a hurricane, a good dust storm) or a few well placed explosives would bring the country to its knees in minutes,

            Sorry for delay in reply, I’ve been away playing with vintage steam engines – big, hot, dirty, inefficient, …..wonderful !!!
            No birds effected but some worms & moles may have serious headaches.

            • avatar JB says:

              John:

              You apparently missed the 😉 after the battery comment. As I said, there are a variety of thermal energy storage technologies (mentioned both in the Scientific American article and in the presentation I posted) that allow energy to be converted and stored. Also, if you read the Scientific American article, you’ll see that the address energy losses (in part), via a long term updating of the grid and a conversion from alternating current to direct current, which would make our energy transfer more efficient (three cheers for conservation).

              I don’t think anyone would seriously advocate putting all of our energy production in on place; the 100×100 mile grid comment is merely a heuristic to give people an idea about scale.

              In any case, fossil fuels are not going to last forever, which means we will need alternatives.


              “…I’ve been away playing with vintage steam engines…No birds effected but some worms & moles may have serious headaches.

              If your vintage steam engine used coal as a heat source, I daresay you may have affected the habitat of a few birds. If you don’t believe me, I’d be happy to show you around a “reclaimed” mine here in Ohio. 35 years later the soils are so thin they don’t support trees–just grasses, forbes, etc.

              • avatar JB says:

                You might also be interested in this recent article:

                Wadia et al. 2009. Materials availability expands the opportunity for large-scale photovoltaics deployment. Environ. Sci. Technol. 43(6):2072-2077.

        • avatar WM says:

          John,

          Something to think about here.

          John says (to JB): You don’t know much about power engineering do you !!

          JB says (to John): Today we have this neat new technology called batteries–you might have heard of them? Well, they’re getting better all the time!

          ___

          Gotcha!

          John, you might also give some thought to the electrical distribution grid, which allows power to go to or from a specific area based on anticipated demand. Hydro,for all of its negatives, can still be turned on in an instant. Electrical utilities boost available power to meet peaking demand in anticipation of a required load based on time of day (think of when all those toasters, furnaces and washers/dryers, coffee makers and hair dryers go on in the AM.

          Of course, if we utilized more conservation, like completely getting away from incandescent bulbs and using compact flourescent or LED, that would help too, along with SIPs (strucutral insulated panels) instead of conventional framing construction for homes, we might be on to something, and fewer of those bird-killing turbines would be needed.

          • avatar JB says:

            Good points, WM. Policies aimed at encouraging technologies such as passive solar, geothermal, and earth-sheltered building design would be useful.

            On a related note…I have a high school friend who sells construction materials to developers (in Michigan). He told me that developers consistently eschew greener building materials–even those that cost as little as 10% more than alternatives–simply to keep the price point for new homes as low as possible. What a travesty.

            • avatar WM says:

              JB,

              The Seattle/King County area (very progressive green with aggressive programs to encourage it, but mostly focuses on the little stuff. Before the Wall St. meltdown, I was looking to build a house, using green technology – SIP’s and ICF’s (insulated concrete forms for a basement foundation, and passive solar. I priced it out, and it came roughly 10% higher, but was offset by lower energy costs over about a 10 year payout period. That was the incredibly good news.

              Now, here is the bad: I couldn’t find an experienced builder anywhere near where near the project location, even though the largest SIP manufacturer in the US is only 50 miles away. As a consequence, we won’t be building now. By the way SIP technology is so energy efficient, positive air flow is required to cycle it thru the structure (conventional frame construction still leaks alot of air). And a heat exchanger retains the energy from the exhausting air while bringing in the new. Supposed to be better for those who have pollen or mold allergies too, because the air can be filtered.

              Old construction habits die hard. And, because they do, an additional concern is resale of a green tech home, because the establishment builders dis them, as do some realtors.

              • avatar JB says:

                Sorry to hear that. My aunt and uncle had a similar experience trying to build a green home in Michigan several years ago. He finally gave up on contractors and did it himself. The finished product is awesome.

                P.S. You’re right about air circulation. The house was so air-tight that during building they had to open all the windows and doors to get paint to dry.

          • avatar john says:

            WM says:
            May 18, 2013 at 4:36 pm
            John,

            Something to think about here.

            John says (to JB): You don’t know much about power engineering do you !!
            JB says (to John): Today we have this neat new technology called batteries–you might have heard of them? Well, they’re getting better all the time!
            ___
            Gotcha!
            ***

            I didn’t mention batteries because for the size of demand we are talking about (terawatt hrs not kWh) the battery technology doesn’t exist. There are some small-scale (MW) examples around but they are only proof of concept & have had some explosive problems –
            Battery fires
            http://www.jeremybarnett.co.uk/serious-battery-fires-case-safety-concerns-around-the-world

            Battery fire in Hawaii windfarm (are these ‘Green Clean’ Toxic Fumes ??)
            http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/19173811/hfd-battling-kahuku-wind-farm-blaze

            The idea of wind & solar is supposed to be ‘Green & Clean’, compared to a big battery fire, a coal station is virginal white.

            Lots of other safer mass energy storage systems BUT the losses in energy conversion make them too expensive.

            Powering a country has different challenges to powering a house.

            So that’s ‘Something else for you to think about’ !!

  33. avatar Snaildarter says:

    Also in this hemisphere animals and fish are moving north at an alarming rate
    and reef fish have no where to go very sad.

    • avatar Ida Lupine says:

      I believe that is what is good advice for investors. But for the planet, not so much. Many bad decisions that are profitable are unfortunately here to stay.

    • avatar Snaildarter says:

      I read that people who retire to Maine out live people who retire to Florida by 10 years. Air-conditioning does not make a healthy life style evidently.

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      In general, solar is good, I think. However, some kinds of solar are very bad. The biggest factors in making it good or bad are the way the solar energy is captured, the location of the solar facility, and the degree of centralization of production (centralization, especially remote centralization being bad).

  34. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    In the US industrial wind is not permitted or sited based on environmental reviews, data, or concerns. This is a political process directed by economics and potential for new transmission or currently available transmission. The busiest migratory pathway in North America, the Mississippi River Flyway/Ohio River Valley are under assault by industrial wind developers who maneuver the political landscape by creating the perception that they are doing something environmentally conscientiously while simultaneously ignoring the “voluntary” Guidelines published by the USFWS – gutted by industry.

    There is NO information on environmental impacts anywhere in the world. This should tell people something. Many are “desperate” for clean energy to drive the future but in our desperation we have bought into the environmental equivalent of the Emperor’s New Clothes. We are told this is “clean and green” and we believe it because we want to, not because there is evidence that shows us industrial wind does anything to reduce CO2 emissions and that it is environmentally responsible. It is, as a matter of fact, political and therefore, reckless.

    This was from one of the comments from the Australia article I posted. The propaganda is being ramped up for this and it is a technology that isn’t ready for prime time.

    • avatar JB says:

      From Dr. David Karowe’s presentation:

      “Wind power…just using onshore turbines…could supply 16 times current U.S. electricity demand.”

      “A concentrated solar array of 100 x 100 miles could provide all of U.S. electricity today.”

      Using a concentrated solar array…”A small portion of the Sahara desert could supply all of Europe’s electricity…or all of the world’s…it’s really phenomenal that we aren’t using this technology.”

      • avatar Ida Lupine says:

        Extremely dire. But nobody is disputing that. It’s already too late from what he has described, as C02 will linger in the atmosphere for a century. The second sentence he uttered said the biggest threat to the ecology is habitat loss… and then global warming.

        There are many other threats that face our wildlife and plants before climate change ever reaches its peak and could lead to their extinction – namely, overhunting, disease and more habitat destruction and fragmentation by a growing human population. So what are we doing? Fragmenting the habitat even more and presenting wildlife and birds with another hazard besides what we already subject them to. He condemns the fossil fuel industry and rightly so – but the types of wind and solar power he is talking about isn’t being done by the wind and solar companies right now, to my knowledge. Again, these companies only seem to be concerned with profits. For example, there’s no way to store solar energy at night as he talks of that I know of right now. He seems to think we don’t need offshore wind and can get more than enough power from land turbines which was interesting. There is no data on how climate change will affect soil and water. It looks pretty bad for humanity as well.

        Facinating. Thanks!

  35. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    Solar technology is fascinating, especially the CSP!

    • avatar aves says:

      Thanks, Ida. That’s a good find, though some might choose to ignore it. The bat totals are really frightening, especially as the White-nose syndrome is decimating populations in the Eastern U.S. and moving westward.

  36. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    Most of us I think would be more than happy to be proven wrong, and to have fossil fuels replaced by clean energy of solar and wind.

    That’s the difference, I think, from anti-wolf people who have no scientific basis at all for clinging to their centuries-old misconceptions.

    I’m obviously no scientist, but I’m here to learn and magazine articles by experts in the field and others are certainly thought-provoking, even if they don’t have the legitimacy of a peer-reviewed study.

    We also have our 200 million plus automobiles and trucks to consider, it’s seemingly insurmountable – and I’ll stand by what I wrote about gas, oil and coal not being replaced in the forseeable future. There’s not only the US to consider, but the rest of the world – to whom we are exporting oil and demand is predicted to rise, not fall. And there’s the “all of the above” energy plan we have.

    Talk about eerie:
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidblackmon/2013/05/16/the-esa-a-rule-or-more-of-a-guideline/

    http://agwobserver.wordpress.com/2011/11/09/papers-on-bird-and-bat-mortality-caused-by-wind-power/

    Here’s one described beautifully:

    What they clearly don’t appreciate — for they know next to nothing about biology — is that most of the species they claim are threatened by ‘climate change’ have already survived 10 to 20 ice ages, and sea-level rises far more dramatic than any we have experienced in recent millennia or expect in the next few centuries. Climate change won’t drive those species to extinction; well-meaning environmentalists might.

    Full text: http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/8807761/wind-farms-vs-wildlife/

    http://jimmccormac.blogspot.com/2011/10/blackpoll-warbler-kill-at-wind-farm.html

    http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/8742331/content/55843877-wind-turbines-at-japan-s-largest-wind-farm

  37. avatar Paula Painter says:

    I just started taking all this in. Late to the table. But, somewhere near the beginning of this thread, someone said that the wind farms didn’t have to have arms. Make the darned conversions and get over it. It should not be okay to keep the death dealing machines going one more hour, when they can be converted to armless producers and end the senseless waste of wildlife. We pay spotters and wildlife specialists to keep an eye on what progress we make in saving endangered species and sustaining life in nature. Then we do wholesale slaughter without a conscience or consequences—what is lost from the food chain costs way bigger on down the line. It isn’t a few eagles in one region, or a few bats here and there, it may well be the amazing monarch butterflies or the hummingbirds we watch for each migratory season. It’s pathetic inertia NOT to change what has been proven to be a destructive problem. These wind farm people need to get off their collective buttocks units and make the change. Or, did I miss something somewhere? Will de-arming the wind farms hurt someone??? Pay the cost of change or pay the penalty,when Americans finally get their say and the Courts start filling up with paperwork and red tape that costs at least as much at the corporate level, or even a higher rate than changing styles of wind mills. It isn’t difficult, people. If it hurts to butt your head against a brick wall, then STOP IT! And it IS hurting our immediate crop of birds and wildlife. People get sidetracked; by the time you’ve read hundreds of replies, it’s a twisted story. Just get off dead center and stop hem-hawing around. Just do it! Start tomorrow. Make the decision to take off the offending arms. Or is that too simple a solution?

  38. avatar Paula Painter says:

    Ida Lupine impresses me with her sensible research presented.
    And as for the CO2 problem from the turbines, see Dept. of Environmental Conservation article:
    http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/47481.html on how the forests lock up CO2 in storage if you are unfamiliar, and learn how clear cut and deforestation is doing a great job of increasing CO2 and decreasing the means of containing it. The rate of scrub isn’t sufficient whether we employ artificial or natural means. See: insideclimatenews.org

    • avatar Ida Lupine says:

      Thank you, and thanks for posting that. We just keep tearing down forests which are one of our best hopes in keeping C02 levels down. Solar may have possiblities, but large windfarms don’t seem to be a realistic alternative in terms of efficiency or safety of wildlife. Just one look at the remedies suggested for not stopping but just minimizing bird deaths painfully shows that we have no idea what we are doing, just forging on blindly ahead:

      Some methods the company is using includes telling workers to drive more slowly so eagles will not be scared from their roosts; removing rock piles where the bird’s prey lives; using radar technology to detect eagles. Duke Energy is also considering blaring loud music to prevent the birds from flying too close to the turbines. It also shut off 13 turbines for a week in March, a particular deadly time for eagles; according to the company, no eagles were killed that month. Could the eagles’ behavior be studied and a plan developed to periodically shut down wind turbines?

      Telling workers to drive more slowly so as not to disturb the birds? Yeah, that’ll work. And shutting down the turbines defeats the purpose.

      • avatar john says:

        “And shutting down the turbines defeats the purpose.”

        The purpose being subsidy farming!! The electricity production will hardly be missed, other than the grid will be more stable.

        I totaly agree about the madness of tearing down forests.

  39. avatar Gail says:

    What is this?? $100,000 fine for shooting a bald eagle in TN (fed law) but the wind developers only need a permit to get their free passes for “incidental take”?

    http://www.wrcbtv.com/story/22377910/officials-offer-reward-for-information-on-bald-eagle-shootings

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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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