I've always thought windmills looked like death traps, turns out they actually are death traps.
You've all seen it: the media sensationalizing footage of birds covered in oil after a spill, but what you haven't heard about are the thousands of birds killed every day by windmills in California, until now. And the birds being killed aren't just any birds, they are protected species. Fox New reporter William La Jeunesse has the story:
Wind power is the fastest growing component in the state's green energy portfolio, but wildlife advocates say the marriage has an unintended consequence: dead birds, including protected species of eagles, hawks and owls.
"The cumulative impacts are huge," said Shawn Smallwood, one of the few recognized experts studying the impact of wind farms on migratory birds. "It is not inconceivable to me that we could reduce golden eagle populations by a great deal, if not wipe them out."
California supports roughly 2,500 golden eagles. The state's largest wind farms kill, on average, more than 80 eagles per year. But the state is set to triple wind capacity in the coming years as it tries to become the first state in the nation to generate 33 percent of its electricity from clean energy sources by 2020.
In the Bay Area, when activists in the 1980s demanded a cleaner planet, the state responded with the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area. The state-approved wind farm, built with federal tax credits, kills 4,700 birds annually, including 1,300 raptors, among them 70 golden eagles, according to biological reports generated on behalf of the owners.
And the kicker:
"There's a big, big hypocrisy here," Sue Hammer of Tehachapi Wildlife Rehab in Kern County said. "If I shoot an eagle, it's a $10,000 fine and/or a vacation of one to five years in a federal pen of my choice."
She's not far off from the reality.
In 2009, Exxon pleaded guilty to causing the deaths of about 85 migratory birds in five states that came into contact with crude oil in uncovered waste tanks. The fine for this was $600,000.
Once again, extreme environmentalists have proved their cause really has nothing to do with saving the environment and everything to do with controlling people's lives. Quite the coincidence that the eagle is the national bird.