Feds playing favorites: Wind industry keeps getting a free pass on bird deaths

posted at 2:41 pm on December 18, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

The environmental lobby has used the Endangered Species Act and its many wildlife-related legal brethren to accomplish any number of their radical goals, including designating lands as untouchable wilderness and bringing the pain on oil and gas companies for any infractions, real or imagined. The golden eagle, the spotted owl, the sage grouse, and etcetera get constant lip service from the greens in shutting off access to drilling in specific areas, and the Obama administration has been only too happy to follow the strict letter of the law when it comes to these hydrocarbon industries.

When it comes to the wind industry, however, mass bird deaths are oftentimes miraculously overlooked by the feds. Fox News reports on the many instances of the Justice Department, the Interior Department and its many zealous agencies, and etcetera finding fault and filing charges against oil and gas companies, but the wind industry seems to be enjoying their coveted status as a designated eco-friendly renewable energy:

Following the deaths of a dozen migratory birds in Montana, Wyoming and Nebraska several years back, a Denver-based oil company was fined $22,500. The company was also ordered to make an additional $7,500 payment to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

… While the federal government aggressively pursues oil and gas companies for wildlife deaths, it often gives wind producers a pass. …

The wind sector has had an exemption from prosecution under two of America’s oldest wildlife-protection laws: the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Eagle Protection Act. A violation of either law could result in a fine up to $250,000 or two years imprisonment. To date, the Obama administration — following in the footsteps of the George W. Bush administration – has not prosecuted a single case against the wind industry. What they have done is gone after oil and natural gas providers for similar infractions.

“How does an industry kill more than 2,000 eagles and not be fined once?” Johns said. “It’s a head scratcher.”

There is a clear double standard at work here. Not only has the wind industry been the recipient of all kinds of cash infusion from the federal government over the years — including the generous production tax credit which they claim they still need in order to “compete” after two decades — but they have more or less been granted implicit immunity from federal wildlife-law prosecution because of the ostensible green banner beneath which they claim they fly.

The funny thing is, even some true-believer greenies have found reasons to criticize the wind industry (and the solar industry!), as the above article suggests. But, in an attempt to appeal to the only vaguely informed but oh-so-eco-trendy voters that make up much of the Democratic base, not to mention the rent-seeking ‘clean’-energy lobby from which they receive all kinds of moolah, the Obama administration has invested far too much money and political capital in renewable energies to not defend them at all costs.

And, while we’re on the subject, here’s yet another example of the green-energy industry and the Obama administration tangled up in something that smells awfully sketchy, via Bloomberg:

A startup automaker financed by the U.S. government won a regulatory decision that Chrysler Group LLC said will give its competitor a monopoly on selling wheelchair-accessible minivans to transit agencies.

The U.S. Federal Transit Administration’s decision will require local providers of transit services for the disabled to buy vans from Vehicle Production Group LLC unless they present a compelling reason to buy from another producer. …

The decision will help VPG, which also makes other vehicles, gain sales next year as the decision was effective immediately, Walsh said. …

VPG won a $50 million loan in March 2011 from the U.S. Energy Department under an alternative-vehicle development program that’s also backed Ford Motor Co. (F), Nissan Motor Co., Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA) and Fisker Automotive Inc.


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CRONY CAPITALISM…..by a Massive government?

nothing to see here.

Just like the irony that the Administration is in favor of MEXICAN DRUG LORDS getting AK-47′s through Fast and Furious…..but they want to get them OUT OF THE HANDS of the American people that have them?

No one in the government can be questioned.

PappyD61 on December 18, 2012 at 2:43 PM

It must be that the endangered species died for a good cause.

mwbri on December 18, 2012 at 2:43 PM

Nothing warms the heart like a condor giving its life for renewable energy.

mwbri on December 18, 2012 at 2:46 PM

California Condors hardest hit.

/literally

Ward Cleaver on December 18, 2012 at 2:46 PM

Oh they would do something about it if guns were involved. Imagine that. Birds of prey armed with guns. Worse yet windmills armed with guns.

Bmore on December 18, 2012 at 3:03 PM

You could scream it from the rooftops and people wouldn’t care. Conservatives lost the information war when they lost the academia and the media market, and allowed public education system to be created. Now they reap what they sowed.

All the money spent on Romney campaign should have been invested in a new TV channel entirely devoted to education. First and foremost fact-based economic education, but also math, civics, history, and the very basics of Christian & Jewish religion and tradition. By all means add a subtle bias here and there but not a shred of news-making, preaching, moralizing, or political propaganda should be tolerated, just sheer education. Nationwide broadcasting might cost a pretty penny but some limited advertising and dirt-cheap production will alleviate the price tag. In a decade, the channel will be well-positioned to be considered mainstream. In two decades, it will become a staple in every suburban school. In three, assuming the country still exists, people will literally demand for the channel to expand into news, entertainment, and other areas.

Archivarix on December 18, 2012 at 3:04 PM

Wonder if there would be an outcry if the whooping crain’s were getting killed? Our beautiful eagles dying like this makes me sick!
L

letget on December 18, 2012 at 3:07 PM

People within the lowest ranks of the Animal Rights movement, really do care about the animals. Some of them worship animals.
But they’re just useful idiots to those at the highest levels, who never really gave a damn about the animals.

For them, it was always about the agenda of the WCPA.

listens2glenn on December 18, 2012 at 3:11 PM

If you’re a bird…… thats gotta be a hell of way to be grounded…pemanently.

FlaMurph on December 18, 2012 at 3:13 PM

So how does wind energy compare to DDT in the number of bird deaths?

John Mahan on December 18, 2012 at 3:13 PM

Recently spotted: Hundreds of cats hanging around windmills.

faol on December 18, 2012 at 3:18 PM

Bird eugenics. Getting rid of the stupid birds.

/would that we could do the same for manufactured outrage and phony Eco-science

rayra on December 18, 2012 at 3:23 PM

Cat owners also get a free pass on bird deaths.
Lock up the cats.

albill on December 18, 2012 at 3:31 PM

I am on an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico. A hydraulic hose lost 1/2 ounce of hydraulic fluid into the Gulf as it was being changed. This was a reportable incident. There truely is a war on oil.

DAT60A3 on December 18, 2012 at 3:33 PM

Obama EPA motto: “Dead birds for me, but not for thee.”

(Come to think of it, a lot of Obama admin mottos are similar to that.)

MichaelGabriel on December 18, 2012 at 3:33 PM

I don’t give a damn how many birds run afoul of wind farms. Eventually, the birds who can avoid or safely navigate around or through the farms will win out. I don’t feel sorry for squirrels or cats who didn’t make it across the road. Eventually, even in those animals, there are some who can figure it out.

Mitoch55 on December 18, 2012 at 3:36 PM

This is horrible … both for the bird kills and the blatant cronyism.

Of course this is guaranteed to be a liberal free thread. Liberals are always crowing about their faux moral superiority yet run and hide whenever they’re exposed for all to see.

darwin on December 18, 2012 at 3:36 PM

I don’t give a damn how many birds run afoul of wind farms.

Mitoch55 on December 18, 2012 at 3:36 PM

Faux environmentalists don’t either … apparently.

darwin on December 18, 2012 at 3:39 PM

Of course this is guaranteed to be a liberal free thread.

Hot Air liberals trolls = zero intellectual integrity.

MichaelGabriel on December 18, 2012 at 3:47 PM

There is a huge wind farm about an hour south of here. My cousin lives nearby. The bird carnage is so bad all the locals call the windmills “birdchoppers”.

novaculus on December 18, 2012 at 4:07 PM

Lets see some evidence of mass bird deaths caused by windmills.

Slowburn on December 18, 2012 at 4:22 PM

The Left was totally unconcerned here in New Hampshire, when a new wind farm with 40 story tall turbines was erected directly across a narrow valley from one of the only Peregrine Falcon nesting sites in the state.

But hey, what’s new? When Hunter Teddy Roosevelt created the Grand Canyon National Park, hunting Bald Eagles was allowed by law.

Del Dolemonte on December 18, 2012 at 4:24 PM

I live in an area that has the world’s biggest bat caves. They are great at eating bugs, including crop pests. A wind company was looking at some leases in the area, but quickly changed its mind because it didn’t want any controversy over the bats. Bats can easily avoid hitting the blades, but the blades create a vacuum that implodes the bats’ lungs and kills them if they get too close.

juliesa on December 18, 2012 at 4:33 PM

I’ve mentioned this here before, but I’ve been told by people who work for an environmental org that wind turbines are more important than endangered birds and bats, because climate change is such an emergency. They are willing to directly cause extinctions in order to serve their AGW cause.

This is sheer lunacy, and just one more reason I can’t stand the climate alarmists.

Farmers and ranchers can make good money by leasing to wind companies, and the money enhances local economies, so there are benefits. But the benefits should come from the free market, not the taxpayer.

juliesa on December 18, 2012 at 4:39 PM

If your in search of the truth on CO2 dangers and AGW.

The truth is only one click away.

http://www.wattsupwiththat.com

happy clicking

APACHEWHOKNOWS on December 18, 2012 at 4:42 PM

APACHEWHOKNOWS on December 18, 2012 at 4:42 PM

Anthony is a hero of mine. I participated in his surface stations study, in two states.

juliesa on December 18, 2012 at 4:49 PM

South Texas is beginning to become cluttered with these atrocities. They are very unsightly and appear to be dangerous to more than just birds. The night time lighting appears to be inadequate. I will go out on a limb and say at some point metal birds are going to start flying into them. But of course it will be pilot error.

DDay on December 18, 2012 at 5:09 PM

A few (thousand) endangered birds are expendable for the greater good of saving the environment….. as long as they aren’t killed by the evil oil industry, or someone with a shotgun……
Makes total sense to me…///

dentarthurdent on December 18, 2012 at 5:54 PM

South Texas is beginning to become cluttered with these atrocities. They are very unsightly and appear to be dangerous to more than just birds. The night time lighting appears to be inadequate. I will go out on a limb and say at some point metal birds are going to start flying into them. But of course it will be pilot error.

DDay on December 18, 2012 at 5:09 PM

BTW – large wind farms like these disturb the air high enough up to create blind spots in FAA radars. What do you think the eventual result will from that?

dentarthurdent on December 18, 2012 at 5:56 PM

In other news, both a KFC and a Chick-Fil-A just opened right next to my local neighborhood wind farm.

You don’t suppose…?

Marcola on December 18, 2012 at 5:58 PM

Mitoch55 on December 18, 2012 at 3:36 PM

well said…let’s take it a step further to the the LGBT community.

teejk on December 18, 2012 at 5:59 PM

In other news, both a KFC and a Chick-Fil-A just opened right next to my local neighborhood wind farm.

You don’t suppose…?

Marcola on December 18, 2012 at 5:58 PM

.
Oh yeah ! … : )

listens2glenn on December 18, 2012 at 8:09 PM

Lets see some evidence of mass bird deaths caused by windmills.

Slowburn on December 18, 2012 at 4:22 PM

Do a body count at the wind farm behind me, except that their security people won’t let you on the property to do that. In summer, you can hear the birds hitting the blades at dusk every evening. Probably 40-80 every night, just from the few turbines nearest me. Heavy toll on bats and eagles.

petefrt on December 18, 2012 at 8:31 PM

Cavuto is doing a story now on Fox Business about this. Bird hits windmill – no big deal. Bird hits oil rig – heavy fine and possible shut down.

petefrt on December 18, 2012 at 8:34 PM

Q: How many permanent jobs does a $100M wind farm create?

A: Two. One to oil the machinery and another to mow the grass.

petefrt on December 18, 2012 at 8:39 PM

…where’s PETA….GreenPeace….et al?

KOOLAID2 on December 18, 2012 at 9:46 PM