US Wind Power Outfit Whacked with $2.5 million Fine for Rampant Golden Eagle Slaughter

eagle robert bryce

Alive – an American icon; dead, an “inconvenient” wind industry fact.

****

The rampant slaughter of millions of birds and bats – including rare, endangered and majestic species, like America’s iconic bald and golden eagles – is one of the many ‘inconvenient’ facts that moves the wind industry to lie like fury and – when the corpses can no longer be hidden and the lying fails – to issue court proceedings to literally bury those facts (see our post here).

But – in America, at least – the ‘inconvenient’ facts are starting to catch up with a vengeance, as US authorities start to do their jobs, finally punishing wind power outfits for what is nothing less than the pointless slaughter of thousands of rare, endangered and, what should be, protected birds.

The victims of giant fans in the US include the bald eagle (pictured above) which – despite their revered status – get sliced, diced and dumped at the bases of turbines in the same unceremonious manner as other less-loved species (see this article). And also include a mounting pile of golden eagle corpses (pictured below).

golden-eagle-flying-wallpaper

Golden eagle on the wing.

golden-eagle-altamont-400x300

Golden eagle not on the wing: Altamont Pass wind farm victim.

****

In the piece from Associated Press below, 38 golden eagles were among the 370 corpses of ‘protected’ species that ended up “taking one for the planet”. However, this time – at least – the slaughter resulted in some kind of sanction.

Wind farm operator fined $2.5 million related to bird deaths in Wyoming
Associated Press
19 December 2014

CHEYENNE, Wyoming — Wind farm operator PacifiCorp Energy will pay $2.5 million in fines after pleading guilty Friday to charges related to the deaths of protected birds in Wyoming.

The subsidiary of Portland, Oregon-based PacifiCorp pleaded guilty in federal court in Wyoming to two counts of violating the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act under a plea deal with prosecutors.

The U.S. Justice Department said the charges stemmed from the discovery of more than 370 dead birds at the company’s Seven Mile Hill and Glenrock/Rolling Hills wind projects in Carbon and Converse counties from 2009 until now. Authorities counted 38 dead golden eagles and 336 other dead protected birds, including hawks, blackbirds, larks, wrens and sparrows.

It’s the second prosecution of a wind energy company for harming or killing protected birds. Duke Energy pleaded guilty last year to killing eagles and other birds at two Wyoming wind farms.

An Associated Press investigation last year documented how the Obama administration, which has championed pollution-free wind power, was failing to enforce protections for birds at wind energy facilities nationwide, including at PacifiCorp facilities in Wyoming.

At the time, PacifiCorp told the AP that the company was never fined or prosecuted because the wind turbines might not be to blame.

Federal prosecutors alleged PacifiCorp Energy failed to make all reasonable efforts to avoid birds dying by colliding with wind turbines despite prior guidance from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. However, in a statement Friday, prosecutors noted the company has co-operated with the wildlife service’s investigation and has already implemented measures aimed at minimizing bird deaths.

Under the deal, PacifiCorp Energy must implement a plan to reduce bird deaths at its four Wyoming sites, and its progress will be monitored for the next five years.

“We are committed to enhancing protections to wildlife that minimize and mitigate impacts,” said Mark Tallman, PacifiCorp’s vice-president for renewable resources.

Michael Hutchins of the American Bird Conservancy said he hoped the deal sends a warning that “poorly sited wind projects known to pose a threat to birds will finally be held accountable.”

Of the $2.5 million in fines, $400,000 will go to the North American Wetlands Conservation Fun, $200,000 will be paid to Wyoming, and $1.9 million will go to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to pay for projects aimed at preserving golden eagles and studying ways to minimize harm to the birds from wind farms.
Associated Press

Here’s the earlier story, referred to in the piece above.

U.S. power company pleads guilty to killing eagles at wind farms
Associated Press
Dina Cappiello
23 November 2013

WASHINGTON — A major U.S. power company has pleaded guilty to killing eagles and other birds at two Wyoming wind farms as part of the first enforcement of environmental laws protecting birds against wind energy facilities.

Under the settlement Friday, North Carolina-based Duke Energy Corp. and its renewable energy arm agreed to pay $1 million. Much of the money will go toward conservation efforts.

The company pleaded guilty to killing 14 eagles and 149 other birds at two wind farms outside Casper, Wyo., from 2009 to 2013.

Wind farms are clusters of turbines as tall as 30-story buildings, with spinning rotors.

Before the case, no wind energy company had been prosecuted for the death of an eagle or other protected bird — even though such deaths are usually a federal violation.
Associated Press

dead-baldeagle02

American Icon “takes one for the planet“.

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. ugattabkideen says:

    “… and $1.9 million will go to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to pay for projects aimed at preserving golden eagles and studying ways to minimize harm to the birds from wind farms.”
    = = = =

    Oh.

    Goody.

    A million-dollar-plus “study”.

    Welllll, THAT’ll take care of the problem, won’t it?

    Woo-hoo.

  2. (full spectrum sarcasm intended)

    Oh gosh STT, I’m feeling so blond today. I really thought the massive bird kills (which ever species) occurring from IWT’s was Obama’s answer to those ” shovel ready” jobs! Yay!

    Ready with your shovel farmers? Or just use that backhoe, it’s easier to dig a nice trench in your field. Your Wind Company will pay you rent and our friendly bird employees will drive around to your IWT’s and pick up the dead carcasses, drop them in the trench and Bada Boo-Bada Bing! Shovel ready Jobs!

    Any cartoonist out there to draw a field of IWT’s with shovels in hand to bury birds? Caption : Obama’s Shovel Ready Jobs.

  3. Ah, but one must realize that the righteousness of the wind turbine religious movement is not to be questioned.

    Indeed, we are to bow to the wind tower as Nebuchadnezzar ordered his people to bow to his tower.

  4. So how much has this wind company reaped in US tax dollars, grants and subsidies over the years for their wind business? And does that $figure make the $2.5 million fine look like a drop in the bucket? Why did this not get reported? I suppose the fine actually got paid with our US tax dollars?

  5. A note to the author: in the text you refer to the Golden Eagle, yet the accompanying photographs are of the Bald Eagle. Without any explanation, there appears to be a disconnect between the text reference and the images, which might diminish the effectiveness of the message regarding these “bird choppers.”

    • Thank you for your comment. We have changed the headline to read “golden” eagle; added a link to another story detailing the slaughter of bald and golden eagles by wind turbines elsewhere in the US; added a photo of a golden eagle and distinguished the photos used in the text.

      We were unable to obtain photos of the actual corpses collected at this particular slaughter house. Wind power outfits, funnily enough, don’t publish them. In this particular instance “38 dead golden eagles and 336 other dead protected birds” were counted. Wind turbines do not yet appear able to discriminate between the raptors they slice and dice. If anything can be said for wind turbines, it is that they will kill anything that flies. Bald eagles have been among their millions of victims. If you are able to direct us to any evidence to suggest that bald eagles (or any other species) are not killed by wind turbines we will be happy to publish it. Otherwise, we think the ‘message’ is plain enough: wind power results in the pointless slaughter of millions of birds and bats and is yet another example of ‘green’ hypocrisy. For a roundup of the variety of avian wind turbine victims see our post here: https://stopthesethings.com/2014/11/21/not-content-with-lying-about-its-bird-slaughter-houses-wind-industry-sues-to-cover-up-death-count-data/

  6. Carol davenport says:

    This is a very bad alternative for energy. Please try solar panels like other countries do.

  7. videos:

    eagle hit http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=8NAAzBArYdw

    —–

    Wind farms are clusters of turbines as tall as 30-story buildings, with spinning rotors as wide as a passenger jet’s wingspan. Though the blades appear to move slowly, they can reach speeds of up to 170 mph at the tips, creating tornado-like vortexes. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/03/12/house-panel-subpoenas-white-house-on-wind-power-eagle-deaths/

    Bob Sallinger with the Audubon Society of Portland said wind farms across the country have killed more than 80 eagles over the last decade.

    “If you have dozens and dozens of them on the landscape it is basically a giant Cuisinart for birds,” said Sallinger. “Bald eagles took decades to recover … we almost lost them because of DDT. Golden eagles are a species biologists are concerned about because they appear to be declining.” http://www.kgw.com/news/Official-Wind–257599781.html

    “Improperly sited and operated wind energy facilities can kill significant numbers of federally protected birds and other species,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe, urging developers to follow the Service’s Land-based Wind Energy Guidelines. “That’s why it’s imperative that wind energy developers work with the Fish and Wildlife Service to minimize these impacts at every stage in the process.”
    Commercial wind power projects can cause the deaths of federally protected birds in four primary ways: collision with wind turbines, collision with associated meteorological towers, collision with, or electrocution by, associated electrical power facilities, and nest abandonment or behavior avoidance from habitat modification.
    http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/utility-company-sentenced-wyoming-killing-protected-birds-wind-projects-0

    A recent study by federal and state scientists found that U.S. wind turbines could kill up to 1.4 million birds of all species per year by 2030 as the wind energy industry continues to expand. http://www.ibtimes.com/should-wind-turbines-be-allowed-kill-eagles-debate-ratchets-bird-group-lawsuit-1607240

    Kay Armstrong, who lives near a wind farm in Ontario, Canada, has reported that her home is now “virtually uninhabitable” due to the infrasound from the turbines disturbing her sleep and making her feel dizzy. She also says that local deer are agitated and awake all night, that birds are flying around all day rather than going to roost, and that seals in the area are suffering miscarriages. http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-London/2014/06/13/More-Deaths-Linked-to-Wind-Turbines-near-Danish-Mink-Farm —non raptor issues too two people die from explosion at wind turbine: http://www.nieuws.nl/algemeen/20131030/Brand-windmolen-Verlies-collegas-hartverscheurend airplane safety concerns http://blackburnnews.com/chatham/chatham-news/2014/07/06/wind-turbines-near-airport-ordered-removed/ —-ca

    There are currently more than 4,000 turbines by the Altamont Pass. http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2014/05/23/new-design-may-reduce-bird-deaths-in-wind-turbines-on-altamont-pass-livermore-interstate-580-golden-eagle-animals-environment-renewable-energy/

    Wind turbines at Altamont Pass kill an estimated 880 to 1,300 birds of prey each year, including up to 116 golden eagles, 300 red-tailed hawks, 380 burrowing owls, and additional hundreds of other raptors including kestrels, falcons, vultures, and other owl species. The APWRA is an ecological sink for golden eagles and other raptor species and may be having significant impacts on populations of birds that are rare and reproduce infrequently. http://www.goldengateaudubon.org/conservation/birds-at-risk/avian-mortality-at-altamont-pass/

    “Last June, the Los Angeles Times reported that about 70 golden eagles are being killed per year by the wind turbines at Altamont Pass, about 20 miles east of Oakland, Calif. A 2008 study funded by the Alameda County Community Development Agency estimated that about 2,400 raptors, including burrowing owls, American kestrels, and red-tailed hawks—as well as about 7,500 other birds, nearly all of which are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act—are being killed every year by the turbines at Altamont.”

    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/wind-energy-under-attack-for-thousands-of-wildlife-deaths/

    —nj Near Atlantic City NJ 5 industrial wind turbines were erected which are killing an average of 76 birds and bats per year per turbine(not the 1-2 that AWEA and US Fish and Wildlife publicize). This has been documented by the local Audubon society. Though to make sure not too information is known…they only study for 2 years after installation then after that….It is a shameful secret! These killed a Peregrine Falcon of which there are only 25 breeding pair in the entire state, also numerous Osprey, a Green Heron, a Dunlin and many others….is not worth it for these highly variable power producers which require full CO2 emitting backup and power shadowing. Money would be much better spent on conservation and efficiency…which have been shown to be ten times more cost effective thereby doing more for our planet

    http://www.ceoe.udel.edu/lewesturbine/documents/acua_quarterlyreport_fall09.pdf

    http://www.njcleanenergy.com/files/file/Renewable_Programs/Wind/ACUA_Interim%20Report_Jan-Sep08_all.pdf

    —-mo

    The project proposed by Wind Capital Group of St. Louis would erect 94 wind turbines on 8,400 acres that the Osage Nation says contains key eagle-nesting habitat and migratory routes. http://bdnews24.com/environment/2013/06/15/native-americans-decry-eagle-deaths

    st louis mayor’s office: Phone: (314) 622-3201

    Hours: 8 AM – 6 PM Monday through Friday

    Address: 1200 Market , City Hall, Room 200 St. Louis, Missouri 63103

    governor:

    facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jay-Nixon/6517667731

    governors twitter https://twitter.com/GovJayNixon

    2007: NRC Report on Environmental Impact of Wind Farms

    “Collisions with buildings kill 97 to 976 million birds annually; collisions with high-tension lines kill at least 130 million birds, perhaps more than one billion; collisions with communications towers kill between 4 and 5 million based on “conservative estimates,” but could be as high as 50 million; cars may kill 80 million birds per year; and collisions with wind turbines killed an estimated at 20,000 to 37,000 birds per year in 2003, with all but 9,200 of those deaths occurring in California. Toxic chemicals, including pesticides, kill more than 72 million birds each year, while domestic cats are estimated to kill hundreds of millions of songbirds and other species each year. Erickson et al. (2005) estimate that total cumulative bird mortality in the United States “may easily approach 1 billion birds per year.” ” http://www.vawind.org/assets/nrc/nrc_wind_report_050307.pdf

    —— http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?State=OR

    Merkley, Jeff – (D – OR) Class II 313 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510 (202) 224-3753 Web Form: http://www.merkley.senate.gov/contact/

    Wyden, Ron – (D – OR) Class III 223 DIRKSEN SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510 (202) 224-5244 Web Form: http://www.wyden.senate.gov/contact/

    —– http://www.leg.state.or.us/senate/members.htm The Oregon State Capitol Address is: 900 Court St. NE, Salem, Oregon 97301. View a map to the Oregon State Capitol. For information regarding the legislative process, email the Legislative Liaison, or call 503-986-1000. For technical questions about this site, please email Oregon Legislative Information Systems, or call 503-986-1914.

    ———- In Spain, the Spanish Ornithological Society (TSOS) estimates that the country’s 18,000 wind turbines cause between six and eighteen million bird deaths a year. This works out at an average of 333 to 1,000 birds per turbine. http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-London/2014/06/20/RSPB-Condemns-Plans-to-Build-Huge-Wind-Farm-Near-Rare-Bird-Breeding-Area

    http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jun/06/local/la-me-adv-wind-eagles-20110606

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1394945/The-green-killer-Scores-protected-golden-eagles-dying-colliding-wind-turbines.html

  8. How in God’s name can a fine, even a large one, prevent wind turbines slaughtering these beautiful creatures?

  9. Jackie Rovenksy says:

    It’s too late after the deaths have occurred. How often do we see in applications and approvals the word ‘mitigate/mitigation’ used by the authorities and companies in relation to dangers these things pose – whether relating to endangered or none endangered birds, creatures of all sorts, water, humans and everything else. The word ‘prevent’ and/or the sentence containing the words ‘must not occur’ should replace it.
    What is forgotten by authorities including the EPBC is when none endangered birds or other creature are murdered in large numbers then they too will eventually become endangered and the endangered ones will become extinct.
    A fine can never replace a life.

  10. Those monstrosities should of never been built in the first place and never using taxpayer money. Gov subsidies blinds people to righteousness and justice and creates a atmosphere to harm others and the environment in order to get the subsidies. Why the gov or corporations that control them want to destroy the environment is beyond me, they are always talking about protection and cleaning the air water and land and minimizing harm to animals and people. But their actions say let’s encourage or incentivize people to do things that appear good on surface but does more damage than the damage they claimed it was mitigating. Why? What could be a reason for this?

  11. The offending wind turbines should be scrapped. Wind companies can recoup the money to pay the fines through price increases. Money is no object, when it comes out of other people’s pockets. They should be out of business, and their useless machines, taken down.

  12. Don Bennett says:

    What irritates us in the oil fields is that if just one of the eagles had died in at one of our field locations, someone in that company would have all but gone to jail let alone been fined heavily for that “crime against nature”. But if you’re part of a chosen industry, you are (or were at any rate) all but immune to what befalls your completion.

  13. Reblogged this on JunkScience.com.

  14. It is about time that the courts start fining the windweasel grubs here in Aus for the damage they doing to our wild life and human health.

Trackbacks

  1. We Don’t Need No Stinking Giant Fans

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: