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OK to kill endangered birds? Yes if you are a windfarm. Greens seem to be fine with that.

Posted By Joanne Nova On December 13, 2013 @ 3:25 am In Global Warming | Comments Disabled

It’s one rule for you, and another for their friends. If a coal plant was wiping out thousands of birds and bats you can be sure Greenpeace would be launching a campaign. But when an industrial turbine with blade-tips travelling at 180mph does the killing, who cares?

The law for normals makes it expensive to kill birds and bats:

“Following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, BP was fined $100 million for the damage it caused to bird populations in the area, both migratory and resident.  — AlaskaDispatch

“Exxon Mobil has agreed to pay $600,000 in penalties after approximately 85 migratory birds died of exposure to hydrocarbons at some of its natural gas facilities across the Midwest.  — NY Times

And it was going to get expensive for windfarms:

“Nov 22 2013 Duke Energy has agreed to pay a $1 million fine for killing 14 eagles and 149 other birds at two Wyoming wind farms. – audublog

That was the first time a windfarm got pinged. And it works out to be about $6000 a bird. Could get expensive, eh?

“The Fish and Wildlife Service estimated that 440,000 birds are killed by wind turbines every year in the U.S. However, that number is said to be a low-ball estimate by independent researchers. Each year 573,000 birds and 888,000 bats are killed by wind turbines in the U.S., according a study by K. Shawn Smallwood that was published in the Wildlife Society Bulletin. — dailycaller.com

Killing 400,000 birds at $6k each would make windpower in the US about $2 billion* more expensive, and less viable, than it already is. But industrial wind turbines are special friends of big-government and they were given licenses to kill “accidentally” for up to five years. But I guess the five year licenses were expiring, so the Obama administration reassessed the rule and now says it’s OK to kill them for 30 years.

“The Interior Department on Friday unveiled a final rule extending the length of permits that allow facilities to unintentionally kill protected bald and golden eagles.The regulations are a major victory for the wind and solar industry, among others, which will now be able to obtain permits for as long as 30 years — a sixfold increase from the previous five-year limit.

I like the newspeak from the Department of Bird-Killing explaining why 30 years of carcasses is a good thing:

“This change will facilitate the responsible development of renewable energy and other projects designed to operate for decades, while continuing to protect eagles consistent with our statutory mandates,” the department said in its regulation. -- The Hill

Five years of bird deaths was not responsible, but 30 years of deaths is? Anyone would protect eagles like this, of course.

In the end it amounts to another $20$2 billion dollar subsidy for renewables (and a lot more dead birds). But it’s all for the sake of the planet.

But there is a bigger issue at stake here. When is a law not a law? When the government can issue licenses to break it. Selective enforcement anyone?  Since Duke Energy may be one of the only wind operators to have to pay the bird-killing tithe, I have to ask, what did they do wrong? Perhaps they didn’t butter up the right people on the right day?

WWF would be outraged if coal fired plants got 30 year exemptions for busting bald eagles.

When is a dead bird a tragedy for an eco-green? Only when it scores a political point.

As usual, it’s not about the environment. It’s only power and politics.

More info:

 

h/t to Cliff. Thanks.

*$20bn corrected to $2bn. h/t Bulldust.

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