In the latest example of the Obama administration picking who does and doesn’t have to follow the law, wind farms killing bald eagles will ensue without penalty.
The White House said Friday it will unilaterally allow the president’s green energy cronies to kill or injure bald eagles and golden eagles for a period up to 30 years, despite the law.
The lawless act, requested by the president’s supporters in the wind energy industry, will provide legal protection for the lifespan of wind farms and some other companies. In the past, it was required to obtain a permit and take precautions to avoid wind farms killing glad eagles and other birds.
An investigation by the Associated Press earlier this year documented the illegal killing of eagles due to wind farms not complying with legal requirements. Naturally, the Obama administration refused to prosecute these cases and was complacent in efforts to keep the news of winds farms killing bald eagles secret.
The White House, to the detriment of the taxpayer, has funneled public money to Obama’s campaign supporters who work in wind power, which is a pollution-free energy intended to slow down climate change. Wind power and solar power flops such as Solyndra, unprecedented control over water by questionable authority — with several instances of executive overreach — have been the hallmarks of President Barack Obama’s green energy plan.
This is not the first instance of the Obama administration showing their hypocritical tendencies as it relates to environmental projects, such as the government’s support for corn-based ethanol to reduce U.S. dependence on gasoline.
The White House has allowed the green industry to practice hypocritical anti-green methods, as shown in another recent AP investigation, which found that ethanol has proven to be far more damaging to the environment than leftist politicians promised and far worse than the Obama government will admit even today.
Under the lawless decision announced Friday, companies would have to commit to take additional measures if they kill or injure more eagles than they have estimated they would, or if new information suggests that eagle populations are being affected. The permits will only be reviewed every 5 years, as opposed to annually, and companies would have to submit reports of how many eagles they kill. Now such reporting is voluntarily, and the Interior Department refuses to release the information.
“This is not a program to kill eagles,” said John Anderson, the director of siting policy at the American Wind Energy Association. “This permit program is about conservation.”
Flying bald eagles and many other birds of prey scan the land below for food, but they don’t notice the industrial turbine blades, which can reach up to 170 mph at the tips, until it is too late. The blades create vortexes that pull the bird in, killing or severely injuring our national icons.
Obviously, because of policy implemented under the Obama administration, this is a relatively recent phenomena in such numbers. Wind energy company have been able to obtain 5-year permits since 2009, or the start of the Obama administration. These killings should put the companies at legal risk under any measure of the law, but that would discourage private investment in renewable energy, something Obama’s green cronies cannot afford.
The permits are a sham regardless, because the system of issuance of permits doesn’t protect the eagles, since without a permit, companies are not even required to take steps to reduce their impact on the birds or report when they kill them. This has led many scientists to question the estimates as to the number of deaths occur annually.
The new Obama administration’s policy clearly states that revoking a company’s permit – which would undermine future investment in wind power – is only to be done as a last resort and in the most extreme of cases.
“We anticipate that implementing additional mitigation measures … will reduce the likelihood of amendments to, or revocation of, the permit,” the rule states.
Conservation groups, which have been aligned with the wind industry on other issues, said the decision by the Interior Department sanctioned the killing of an American icon.
“Instead of balancing the need for conservation and renewable energy, Interior wrote the wind industry a blank check,” said Audubon President and CEO David Yarnold in a statement. The group said it will challenge the decision.
The wind energy industry has taken the position to two or more wrongs make a right, stating the policy mirrors other permitting policies already in place for other endangered species, which are apparently even more at risk than bald and golden eagles.
Bald eagles were removed from the endangered species list in 2007, however, but they still remain protected under two federal laws.
Shamefully, the regulation published Friday was not subjected to a full environmental review because, as with so many other unilateral administration decisions, they conveniently classified it as an administrative change.
“The federal government didn’t study the impacts of this rule change even though the (law) requires it,” said Kelly Fuller, who formerly headed up the wind campaign at the American Bird Conservancy. “Instead, the feds have decided to break the law and use eagles as lab rats.”
The Fish and Wildlife Service said the new rule enables it to better monitor the long-term environmental effects of renewable energy projects.
“Our goal is to ensure that the wind industry sites and operates projects in ways that best minimize and avoid impacts to eagles and other wildlife,” the agency said in a statement.
Last month, Duke Energy Corp. — who did not directly support either of the Obama campaigns — pleaded guilty to killing eagles and other birds at two wind farms in Wyoming, the first time a wind energy company has been prosecuted under a law protecting migratory birds.
A study by federal biologists in September found that wind farms have killed at least 67 bald and golden eagles since 2008, a number that the researchers experts say was underestimated.
It’s unclear what toll, if any, wind energy companies are having on eagle populations locally or regionally. But with the wind energy industry growing thanks to crony government funding, experts say that the toll will likely grow.
A recent study of status of the golden eagle in the western U.S. showed that populations have been decreasing in some regions.