Paul Driessen

The mere possession of an eagle feather by a non-Indian can result in fines and imprisonment, even if the feather came from a bird butchered by a wind turbine: up to $100,000, a year in prison or both for a first offense. Poisoning or otherwise killing common bats that have nested in one’s attic can cost homeowners thousands of dollars in fines.

Wind turbine companies, officers and employees, however, are immune from prosecution, fines or imprisonment, regardless of how many rare, threatened, endangered or migratory birds and bats they kill. In fact, FWS data show that wind turbines slaughter some 400,000 birds every year. If “helter-skelter” applies to any energy source, it is wind turbines, reflecting their Charles Manson effect on birds.

The hypocritical Obama-Purdon-FWS policy exists solely to protect, promote and advance an anti-hydrocarbon agenda that is increasingly at odds with environmental, scientific, economic, job-creation and public opinion reality – and to safeguard wind turbines that survive solely because of government mandates, taxpayer subsidies … and exemptions from laws that rule, penalize and terrorize the rest of us.

Even if avian radar and turbine shutdown systems do eventually work, should they be limited to condors? Shouldn’t they be required for eagles and falcons – and for hawks, ducks, flycatchers, bats and other protected species? For geese, to prevent a repeat of the December 7, 2011 massacre of numerous snow geese by wind turbines along upstate New York Route 190, as reported by a motorist?

Why aren’t wind developers and permitting authorities required to consider the lost economic benefits of butchered birds and bats, which do so much to control rats and insects that carry diseases and destroy crops?

Of course, even condor protection alone would likely limit affected turbine electricity output to 10 or 20% of rated capacity, instead of their current 30% average. Adding other protected species would drive nearly all actual wind turbine electricity output down below 5% – making the turbines virtually worthless, and driving the exorbitant cost of wind energy even higher.

But why should wind turbines be above the law? Why should we even worry about reducing their electricity output?

America’s environmentalists, legislators, judges and bureaucrats have already made hundreds of millions of acres of resource-rich land off limits – and rendered centuries of oil, gas, coal, uranium, geothermal and other energy unavailable. The Environmental Protection Agency’s anti-coal aero-pollution rules, intense opposition to the Keystone pipeline, and looming restrictions on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas are already further impairing electricity and other energy availability and reliability.

This government-imposed energy deprivation is already driving families into energy poverty and sending more jobs overseas.

Put bluntly, wind energy is unsustainable. It kills unconscionable numbers of bats, raptors and other birds. It requires billions in perpetual subsidies – and billions more for (mostly) gas-fired backup generators. It impacts millions of acres of scenic, wildlife and agricultural land – and uses vast amounts of raw materials, whose extraction and processing further impairs global land, air and water quality. Its expensive, unreliable electricity kills two jobs for every one supposedly created.

A far more rational public policy would cut out the unreliable middleman. It would forget about wind turbines, simply build more gas, coal and nuclear generators, to generate reliable, affordable, sustainable electricity – and apply the same laws fairly and equitably to all energy sources.


Paul Driessen

Paul Driessen is senior policy adviser for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), which is sponsoring the All Pain No Gain petition against global-warming hype. He also is a senior policy adviser to the Congress of Racial Equality and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green Power - Black Death.

Be the first to read Paul Driessen's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com delivered each morning to your inbox.