Wind industry seeking still more special treatment in the form of unpunished eagle slayings

posted at 6:01 pm on September 6, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

The Obama administration has been most vociferous about their prerogative to exercise their ‘prosecutorial discretion’ in enforcing the laws of the land; drugs and immigration spring immediately to mind, but another very conspicuous example of their discriminate habits comes from the Department of Interior. The administration has very readily brought suits against energy companies in violation of the protected-species laws that influence so many of the United States’ land-use policies, but rather mysteriously, none of these energy companies have been wind companies — which, considering that wind turbines kill hundreds of thousands of birds every year, feels like a disconnect, no?

Nope, not really. The Obama administration has made far too many high-roller “investments,” to use the president’s obnoxiously persistent and misleading term, in developing and supporting wind energy, and it simply wouldn’t do to draw attention to the fact that wind actually isn’t the seamlessly, perfectly, messianically green and clean form of energy that its many determined lobbyists and mindless supporters make it out to be (for so, so many reasons, ahem, but I’ll stick to the rampant bird-murder for now).

But of course, when it comes to any type of rent-seeking, one special favor all too often leads to another. Via The Hill:

Wildlife advocates and proponents of wind energy visited the White House, meeting with the Obama administration over a regulation that would extend the length of permits that allow energy companies to unintentionally kill protected eagles.

Last week, representatives from four conservation organizations and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) got together with administration officials to talk about the rule, which is currently under review at the White House’s regulations office.  …

Every year, hundreds of thousands of birds are killed when they fly into wind turbines. It’s unclear how many of them are bald and golden eagles, which are protected by federal law, but the Fish and Wildlife Service gives permits to projects with conservation plans that are nonetheless expected to unintentionally kill a small number of the eagles.

The Fish and Wildlife Service has developed a regulation that would extend the length of those permits from five years to 30. …

Conservationists are worried that the extension would give wind farms too much of a license to kill protected birds and that researchers need to be allowed to develop better preservation methods.

Take, take, take, wind industry — I have few doubts that what started as a five year exemption will be extended, and then extended another time after that, and another after that…


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