I was remiss last week in not bringing to everyone’s attention Robert Bryce’s splendid Wall Street Journal article about how the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has decided to allow wind energy producers to kill up to 4,200 bald eagles a year. It includes such gems as this:
A 2013 study in the Wildlife Society Bulletin estimated that wind turbines killed about 888,000 bats and 573,000 birds (including 83,000 raptors) in 2012 alone. But wind capacity has since increased by about 24%, and it could triple by 2030 under the White House’s Clean Power Plan. “We don’t really know how many birds are being killed now by wind turbines because the wind industry doesn’t have to report the data,” says Michael Hutchins of the American Bird Conservancy. “It’s considered a trade secret.”
Thought experiment: if nuclear power produced avian mortality figures like this, what would environmentalists say? You don’t have to think very hard on this.
So behold today’s WSJ letters to the editor, where David Jenkins, president of something called “Conservatives for Responsible Stewardship,” offers this defense of our Cuisinarts in the Sky:
Regarding Robert Bryce’s “An Ill Wind: Open Season on Bald Eagles” (op-ed, May 16): Wind power is one of the best ways to protect eagles and other birds because it combats their biggest threat—climate change.
Wind energy has the lowest impact on wildlife and its habitats of any source of energy, as detailed in a 2009 study by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, which analyzed the life-cycle impacts of the six major forms of energy generation. The report concluded, “nonrenewable electricity generation sources, such as coal and oil, pose higher risks to wildlife than renewable electricity generation sources, such as hydro and wind.”
Misplaced concern over the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s new proposal risks overshadowing larger threats such as climate change. The National Audubon Society points out that climate change is putting more than 300 different North American bird species at risk, not just eagles. As an emission-free energy source, wind power helps reduce this threat.
David Jenkins, President, Conservatives for Responsible Stewardship
So let’s see: eagles, who thrive in climate conditions almost as varied as human beings, should be sacrificed at a rate of 4,000 per year in perpetuity to prevent climate change. Reminds me of “we had to burn down the village in order to save it.” This just might set a new world record in useful idiocy. Commence mockery in three, two. . .