Robert Bryce writes in the Wall Street Journal:
For some environmentalists, the threat of climate change is so great that we must allow wind turbines to kill bald and golden eagles. The argument I’ve heard is that renewables, including wind energy, will reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Less carbon dioxide reduces the threat posed by climate change, which benefits eagles and other wildlife.
In other words, we have to kill eagles in order to save them.
If this sounds far-fetched, consider the notice that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published in the Federal Register on Sept. 27. It seeks public comment on a proposed permit that will allow a wind project to kill up to five golden eagles over a five-year period, despite their protected status under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
The permit is sought for the Shiloh IV Wind Project in Solano County, Calif. If it is granted, it would formally recognize a legal double standard that is already in existence with regard to wildlife protection in America.
Wind projects routinely violate the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, but no wind farm has ever faced a single prosecution. Meanwhile, companies in the oil and gas industry and other sectors are routinely indicted for violating those same statutes.
The illegal bird kills are not insubstantial. On Sept. 11, some of Fish and Wildlife’s top raptor biologists published a study in the Journal of Raptor Research that found the number of eagles killed by wind turbines increased to 24 in 2011 from two in 2007. In all, some 85 eagles have been killed since 1997. Joel Pagel, the study’s lead author, recently told me that the figure is “an absolute minimum.” Among the carcasses: six bald eagles.