According to the Wall Street Journal, certain energy companies face boundless prosecutions when birds are killed because of oil spills, electrocution, or other non-“green” technology. They are the traditional oil, gas, and electric providers. It seems, however when birds encounter wind turbines, the “green” energy providers are somehow magically immune from prosecution.
Michael Fry of the American Bird Conservancy estimates that U.S. wind turbines kill between 75,000 and 275,000 birds per year. Yet the Justice Department is not bringing cases against wind companies.
“Somebody has given the wind industry a get-out-of-jail-free card,” Mr. Fry told me. “If there were even one prosecution,” he added, the wind industry would be forced to take the issue seriously…
By 2030, environmental and lobby groups are pushing for the U.S. to be producing 20% of its electricity from wind. Meeting that goal, according to the Department of Energy, will require the U.S. to have about 300,000 megawatts of wind capacity, a 12-fold increase over 2008 levels. If that target is achieved, we can expect some 300,000 birds, at the least, to be killed by wind turbines each year.
Of course, the AWEA protests that this is a tiny number compared to other hazards faced by birds.
On its Web site, the Wind Energy Association says that bird kills by wind turbines are a “very small fraction of those caused by other commonly accepted human activities and structures—house cats kill an estimated one billion birds annually.”
Then why doesn’t this same defense apply to companies like ExxonMobil and PacificCorp? They have been charged millions of dollars in fines for relatively few bird kills.
It’s simple: while all energy companies are equal, some are more equal than others.
This is a double standard that more people—and not just bird lovers—should be paying attention to. In protecting America’s wildlife, federal law-enforcement officials are turning a blind eye to the harm done by “green” energy.
One wonders what Van Jones might have had to say about this.