‘Green’ Hypocrisy: the Wind Industry’s State-Sanctioned Eagle Slaughter

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American Icon becomes wind industry ‘road-kill’.

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The wind-worship cult, whether those wallowing in the subsidy trough or the political enablers that do their paymasters’ bidding by keeping the trough full-to-overflowing have one consistency of thought and action: and that’s a callous disregard for wind farm neighbours – be they clad in cloth, leather or feathers.

Their malice knows no bounds and is universal:

Environment Minister, Greg Hunt Backs Slaughter of ‘Protected’ Eagles With Taxpayer Underwritten ‘Loans’ for Wind Farms

The industry’s parasites and spruikers turn themselves in ideological knots as they grapple with images of protected avian species, including majestic raptors – of the kind that grace flags, notes and coins: –

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… piling up as splattered and dismembered carcasses, strewn across wind farms, all over the World:

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The wind-worship cultist – who occupies some other ‘reality’ – hates being confronted with the fact that these things are responsible for the wholesale slaughter of millions of birds and bats. So, here’s another confronting tale for the intellectually dishonest that claim their pet power source is all ‘clean’ and all ‘green’.

Industrial wind is destroying Iowa’s eagle habitats
The Gazette
Terry McGovern
27 December 2015

eagle illinois

D1, the world famous Decorah eagle fitted with a solar-powered satellite transmitter, perches in a tree overlooking the Upper Iowa River near Decorah on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013. D1, now 2 1/2 years old, is starting to show white feathers on her head, tail and shoulders. She had spent the summer, as she did last year, 1,100 miles north in Polar Bear Provincial Park near Canada’s Hudson Bay and only recently returned to Decorah. Bob Anderson photo

The bald eagle recovery program in Iowa is perhaps our state’s best wildlife management success story to date, but progress is being lost due to the mass killing of bald eagles by industrial wind turbines.

This conflict between industry and environment is now playing out near Fairbank, Iowa located in Fayette County, where shell companies Mason Wind (parent firm is China’s largest naval defense contractor) and Optimum Renewables (parent company is a German wind services firm) are attempting to build their wind farm in an area known for bald eagle habitats.

At the time of European settlement in America, it is estimated there were 100,000 eagle pairs in the lower forty-eight states. By the 1960s, winter counts averaged less than 4,000 eagles.

Bald-Eagle_Chris-Hill_SS

In Iowa, there were no known nesting pairs after 1905. Hunting, habitat loss, and pesticide contamination led to the drastic decline. Congress passed the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act in 1940 in an attempt to reverse the eagle’s decline. This Act had limited effectiveness at stopping the decline, so in 1978, Congress protected the Bald Eagle under the Endangered Species Act. These protective laws and an increased awareness of and concern for bald eagles lead to the species recovery.

According to the Iowa DNR, the number of nesting pairs counted in the lower forty-eight states has gone from 417 in 1963 to over 9,000 in 2006. Iowa reported its first bald eagle nest in over 70 years in 1977, and since then, eagle nests have been reported in 86 of Iowa’s 99 counties. There are currently 262 bald eagle territories classified as ‘active’ by the Iowa DNR, mean there was nesting activity reported within the last three years.

The good news story of bald eagle recovery in Iowa has turned tragic as industrial wind turbines are slaughtering raptors such as bald and golden eagles by the thousands every year. Wildlife biologists estimate that nationally industrial turbines kill 83,000 raptors such as bald and golden eagles each year.

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Since bald and golden eagles, including their bodies, parts, and feathers, are protected by the 1940 Act, the US Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS) has set up a repository where dead golden and bald eagles can be processed to allow people the opportunity to legally own eagle feathers and other parts. Eagles play an important part in many Native American traditions.

The repository has seen a sharp rise in eagle carcasses in conjunction with the proliferation of industrial turbines across the Midwest. The number of bald eagle carcasses sent to the Eagle Repository have increased by about 250 percent since 2005. A much higher percentage of the eagle carcasses received by the Eagle Repository are mutilated, a condition typically caused by wind turbine blade strikes.

In America today, the most likely place for a person to find an eagle carcass is at or near a wind farm. The regions that now ship the most eagle carcasses to the repository are the regions that have installed the most wind energy since 2006.

From 2012-2013 this repository processed nearly 2,300 dead bald and golden eagles. U.S. Region 3, which includes Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, and Michigan, led the other seven regions with 547 dead bald eagles. The wind energy lobby downplays this mass killing by arguing their machines are no more dangerous to eagles than cars, windows, or cats. Research done by Joel Pagel and Brian Millsap (and others), of the USFWS, indicates that the top three killers of eagles are transmission lines, cars, and wind turbines.

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Since wind turbines only produce power about 33 percent of the time, they require the addition of a significant amount of transmission lines to the backup power sources (coal/gas/nuclear), so wind figures twice into the top three killers of bald eagles.

Cats do not kill raptors: raptors eat/kill cats. Eagles do not live in densely populated areas and their hunting patterns are such that collision with windows would be extraordinary and likely appear in a national news story.

The wind energy industry should be paying millions in fines for the thousands of eagle killings, but their lobbyists have pressured the Whitehouse to allow unlimited eagle kills for industrial turbines over 30 years. A federal judge recently ruled against this free-kill policy after a lawsuit filed by the American Bird Conservancy. Despite the presence of eagle habitats, the foreign-owned wind developers press forward with their projects in Iowa.

In Fayette County, the same two wind companies are ignoring local opposition and pushing ahead with their wind development project, which was previously denied by Fayette, Blackhawk, and Buchanan counties.

Fayette County Board of Adjustments rejected the wind farm as not meeting zoning requirements, but the wind developer attorneys argued on a technicality that allowed them to push forward with building their turbines within a mile of the city and directly next to a forested area known for roosting eagles by local residents. Fayette is home to 10 active eagle nests and plays a key role in migratory eagle sustainability.

The Little Wapsipinicon River runs through the town of Fairbank (it then connects with the Wapsi several miles south of town). It is a major migratory pathway for a number of species of birds, including both bald and golden eagles. Each year 4,000 to 7,000 bald eagles winter along the Mississippi corridor from Minneapolis to 50 miles south of St. Louis.

Fairbank citizens concerned about the visiting eagles are demanding the developers conduct an eagle conservation study and apply for an eagle take permit through the USFWS but developers have done neither. It is against federal law to kill a bald or golden eagle without the take permit.

The Iowa Wind Action Group, a non-profit whose mission is to educate about industrial wind in support of informed decision-making, is petitioning the USFWS to recommend the wind developers near Fairbank complete a conservation study and apply for a take permit.

Supporting a sustainable agricultural landscape requires careful consideration of all species utilizing the area, whether permanently or during migrations, to maintain balance. Wind development in Iowa is largely unregulated, meaning environmental considerations are at the whim of a developer.

While wind lobbyists use climate change to justify entry into sensitive or inappropriate landscapes, the scientific reality is that wind energy does not have a measurable impact on climate change and sustainability demands a broader focus beyond just carbon reduction.

Iowa’s 3,400 turbines currently reduce the global carbon output by .0008 percent. Nationally, despite receiving tens of billions of dollars in tax subsidies, industrial wind contributes roughly 2 percent of Americans’ energy consumption as their turbines kill some 900,000 bats and 1 million birds/raptors each year. We should not have to kill the planet to save it. The death of a single bald eagle will take years to replace because eagles are slow reproducers.

It takes an eagle 6-7 years to reach reproductive maturity and most nests have one fledgling that makes it from hatch to maturity. Nearly 90 percent of eagles will perish before reaching adulthood. While 9,800 eagle pairs in the lower forty-eight may sound like a strong population, it will not take long for their numbers to plummet. Proper siting of wind farms is essential to preserve Iowa’s bald and golden eagle populations.

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Industrial turbines are killing thousands of avian, including endangered eagles and bats, every year in Iowa, but bird conservancy groups in the state have been very quiet on this issue. Does anyone care that this is happening to our avian? All wind developers in Iowa should be required to complete USFWS conservation studies, surveys, and take permits in any county with bald/golden eagles or endangered bats.

• Terry McGovern is a retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and business professor at Clarke University in Dubuque.
The Gazette

The wind industry kills millions of birds and bats across the world every year. In Spain alone, wind farms are killing between 6,000,000 and 18,000,000 birds every year. The figures come from 136 monitoring studies collected by the Spanish Ornithological Society. Here’s one take on the numbers killed by the Spectator.

A study in the US shows that the numbers of bird deaths accredited to turbines underestimates the true figure by more than 30%. (for the full story refer Smallwood, K Shawn. 2013. Comparing bird and bat fatality-rate estimates among North American wind-energy projects. Wildlife Society Bulletin 37: 19-33.)

When challenged about the slaughter, the standard wind industry response is to lie by denying it even happens.

When that fails to wash (mounting piles of carcasses at the bases of turbines don’t help), its spin doctors admit the “problem” but downplay the kill-rate, by asserting that the numbers are “made up” by “mysterious forces” backed by “big coal”.

If an unsatisfied challenger persists, the response is a resort to the ol’ chestnut about “saving the planet from cataclysmic climate change”. And, for dramatic effect, calling the challenger an anti-wind, climate change DENIER.

Of course, these things have absolutely NOTHING to do with global warming or climate change (whichever is your poison) – as they require 100% of their capacity to be backed up 100% of the time with fossil fuel generation sources (see our post here).

That simple and unassailable fact means wind power cannot and will never reduce CO2 emissions in the electricity sector: the sole justification for the wind industry’s heavily subsidised existence.

After more than 20 years in operation, the wind industry has yet to produce a shred of credible evidence to support its claims about wind power abating CO2 – and all the evidence is to the contrary effect (see our post here; this European paper here; this Irish paper here; this English paper here; and this Dutch study here).

In the result, there is no environmental gain for an awful lot of avian pain.

Once the wind industry’s fallacious (self) justification is stripped away, the deaths of millions of birds and bats can be seen for what it is: nothing more than senseless slaughter.

griffon vultures

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. Reblogged this on Patti Kellar.

  2. Jim Wiegand- Wildlife Biologist says:

    Here are some of the ways that fake experts rigs their wind industry research…………………… (1) By not searching turbines daily or even several time daily which allows more time for bodies to be consumed by predators, hidden by employees, and picked up by leaseholders wanting to protect their income, ( 2) by having grossly undersized search areas in around wind turbines on the graveled/clear areas, (3) By searching turbines that are not operational, by (4) By not using trained dogs in searches which could quickly find virtually every carcasses in a large area around each turbine, (5) By avoiding turbines that are known to be killing the most birds at bats at a wind farms to be included in mortality studies, (6) By avoiding searches or shutting down turbines during periods of high usage by migrating birds, (7) By not counting mortality wounded birds that have wandered away from the small turbine search areas, (8) By not counting birds taken to rehab centers which are later euthanized or permanently placed in captivity, (9) By hiring industry shills to make sure that wind industry protocol is followed for the fake studies, (10) by not conducting mortality searches the first year of wind farm operation, 11) By letting farming practices plow carcasses into the ground during mortality surveys, (12) By rigging data calculations and by discarding very important carcasses from the data and declaring them “incidental carcasses”(12) by outright lying about problematic data such as fatalities to endangered species, and most importantly (13) By restricting formal search areas to the roads and cleared areas around turbines which also happen to also be the easiest areas for wind personnel to pre-scan and pick up carcasses ahead of formal searches, (14) by allowing wind farm personnel to touch, relocate and remove carcasses during so called scientific studies and (15 ) Pay very close attention to this one………………by not allowing 24 hour camera surveillance around turbines that would expose the truth regarding mortality.

    Camera surveillance on wind turbines was suggested by well meaning biologists over 25 years ago and to this day it has never happened. Besides exposing the horrific wind industry slaughter taking place these cameras would cost a small fraction of the many millions being given to shill biologists for rigging their studies.

    Here is the reality of wind industry research in the Eastern US. Search areas have been reduced to primarily the roads and cleared areas around turbines. The cleared areas around each turbine can be scanned for carcasses in just a few minutes. Imagine walking or even driving through a parking lot looking for these carcasses. Finding turbine fatalities would almost be that easy. Under these conditions I could all by myself, easily scan 4 huge turbines 10 times a day. They might do it once a week.

    If I were conducting research I would have sensors and cameras placed at each location that would alert me or detect the presence of scavengers or employees trying to rig data. On the other hand if I were one of the wind industry scumbags wanting to hide as many bodies as possible I would always have one or two employees checking the study turbines for carcasses while pretending to be doing turbine maintenance. I would also make sure to hire one of the shill environmental research outfits with a history of producing bogus studies.

    • Hi Jim,
      also take into consideration that in Michigan, the farm fields crops are also hiding carcasses, especially because of the tall growth associated with our corn and other various crops.
      You might see a bird hit, but unable to actually see it because the growth is so high that the normal passerby on these country roads wouldn’t see it.
      In 2012, I was told that the wind company was looking for 5 acres of land to bury birds. They actually approached a farmer for the rental of land. Of course we all know, money can shut a mouth quick, and it did.
      I try to observe a certain area when possible just 6 miles north of me. A friend has a 20 acre wooded parcel that is just for nature. He’s a huge nature guy and takes water out to the middle of his property for the birds. We literally haul 5 gallon buckets to the barrel set up he has so the birds have water.
      Just last week I spoke to him and now he tells us that there are no more birds at his property. He’s an avid deer hunter and sits in his woods a good amount of time between Oct. and thru Dec.

      I had warned him about the turbines back in 2012, he is now more informed just by what he has observed himself. He knows now, how his nature has changed on his little slice of pie.

      The evidence is here, it’s there, it’s everywhere.

  3. Those who have frequently watched and admired the superb soaring ability of wedge tailed eagles and other Australian raptors will most likely have noticed that wind swept hills and ridge-lines are among their favoured flight paths. Sadly those same locations are also favoured locations for industrial wind turbines.
    So not only do wind turbines located on ridge-lines create severe night time noise problems for nearby residents because of the wind shear conditions frequently encountered at such locations but they are also in prime locations to slaughter our magnificent eagles. It’s marvellous what moral rationalisations the likes of Greg Hunt, Richard Di Natale and their camp followers can justify in the pursuit of their ideological obsession with wind turbines?

  4. Big wind is a ponzi scheme, wholly dependent on government enforced subsidies. The minute subsidies for new towers are refused, the whole pyramid scheme collapses.

  5. Anna Brown says:

    Obama loves wind power so nothing will change until he is out of the White House

  6. Horrible!

  7. Aquila audax audax says:

    We have been having a difference of opinion with the operators of Waterloo wind farm and proponents of Waterloo stage 2.

    Clearly one of us is not playing with a straight bat.

    They have told the Essential Services Commission of SA (ESCOSA) in writing that Wedge Tailed eagles are “not a protected species”.
    UM – try reading the SA Natural Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 boys.

    They told us in an email that according to the birdlifeaustralia website – “they are listed as Secure”,,, and here is the link they provided
    http://www.birdsaustralia.com.au/bird-profile/wedge-tailed-eagle

    It is a shame they didn’t bother to look a bit further on the birdlife Australia website or they would have found the birdlife Australia policy on wind farms .
    http://birdlife.org.au/documents/POL-WindFarms-Birds.pdf

    It’s quite explicit that birds (especially soaring birds like raptors) and wind farms don’t mix and they are opposed to wind farms being sited where they may negatively impact. They prefer a precautionary approach!
    Here’s a quote from their policy……..
    “BirdLife Australia advocates the following approaches to wind farms:
    1. Commercial scale wind farms are not developed where there is a demonstrable risk to important bird populations or their habitat. In the absence of government declared “no go zones”, particular attention should be paid to areas with high avian conservation values. These include (but are not limited to):
    “f. Sites strongly favoured by soaring birds such as raptors and brolgas, and/or daily movements by large flocks” ”

    The majority of wind farms in SA have recommended a minimum buffer distance between turbines and WTE nests of 500 – 1000m.
    Good old Waterloo wind farm operators have no such buffer – pathetically offering to limit construction noise near occupied nests in the breeding season if nests are occupied.

    Northern and Yorke Natural Resources Management Board documents for Mid North Agricultural Area list large raptors as threatened and declining and one of the key threats is, you guessed it, wind farms.

    Northern and Yorke Natural Resources Management Board
    Wedge Tailed Eagles/Large Raptor Conservation Status, Objectives and Strategies…….

    http://www.naturalresources.sa.gov.au/northernandyorke/search-results?dlv_NY%20DLV%20search%20results=(keyword=aquila)

    http://www.naturalresources.sa.gov.au/northernandyorke/about-us/about-nrm/community-action-planning/cap-mid-north

    Get the facts!

  8. Grant Winberg says:

    That’s in the USA. In Australia, Environmental Assessment Reports contain Expert Advice assuring us that there is nothing to worry about. Our carrion – oops, raptors will be safe from wind turbine blades. So relieved. But, seriously, in the not too distant future, the only raptors we will be in awe of will be those that have been immortalized by photographers, and artists such as Humphrey Price-Jones.

  9. Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    Where’s the outrage form the ‘greens’, the supposed protectors of Mother Nature?
    There is never any, because being ‘green’ is not about the environment anymore, rather – politics, sanctimony, self-loathing and capitalist hatred.

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