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Category — Avian mortality (“Cuisinarts of the air”)

The Voice of Dead Eagles at Shiloh IV (Part III)

As former agents Sam Jojola and Lucinda Schroder previously pointed out, the FWS eagle killing permit process is not enforceable and does not work.

How could it?  With only voluntary regulations, no accountability, and the industry hiding most of their mortality with rigged studies, these permits are nothing more than a rubber stamp from the Interior Department.

A few months back the Duke Energy case received a lot of national media attention for their killing of eagles. But despite what is being published, the Duke Energy case does not demonstrate that the FWS permit process works. If it was working, nearly every wind project in the country would be in legal trouble.

I read the impacts statements used in the approval process. They fraudulently claimed or estimated that eagle mortality from the turbines would be low. These impact statements were backed up with other bogus wind industry studies that hid most of the turbine mortality that took place.

If the permit process did work, the Duke energy wind farms would have been torn down due to the fraudulent documents used in the permitting process. Sure they paid a fine, but the FWS is still allowing Duke Energy to kill eagles with their turbines  and the numbers killed will not be known. In addition the shills that put together all the fraudulent documents have never singled out for their part in any of this.

The current FWS permit process also allows other wind farms in the region of the Duke Energy turbines to kill even more eagles. [Read more →]

July 18, 2014   5 Comments

USFWS Special Agents: Speaking Truth to Wind Power re Shiloh IV (Part II)

“Shiloh IV was handed a permit because they know agents like Lucinda Schroder and Sam Jojola are not around to hold them accountable for their lies and their slaughter. Actually, if agents now working for the FWS were not being handcuffed by Washington, wind farm companies would never even consider asking for an eagle kill permit. We would also have far more eagles, whooping cranes, and other rare species.”

The Shiloh IV Wind Project, a 3,500-acre wind farm near Rio Vista, California has received the first-ever permit that would allow for the deaths of five golden or bald eagles over a five-year period without the wind farm’s operators being penalized. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) has conservatively estimated the impact of up to five eagles.

Shiloh IV is only part of a larger wind resource area. It’s expected that eagles will be killed in these other sections.  In fact every time a Shiloh turbine kills an eagle the company will have every opportunity to haul the carcass off to another section of this wind resource area so they can stay within their five eagles/five-year permit. Or worse yet not even report it like most of the wind farms do in Texas.

This permit is completely unenforceable, and it’s highly inconceivable that the company will purposely expose itself to federal prosecution if its turbines kill more than five eagles within a five-year period. Considering the massive potential for bird fatalities that turbines present, it’s ludicrous to think that the impact will be limited to five eagles in five years. Common sense dictates that the threat to eagles and birds is much greater.

In the past some wind power projects has been required to monitor and report mortality, but it’s well known that their reports have been highly manipulated to show few fatalities. There has never been and still will not be any wind industry accountability for the true slaughter that has occurred for decades. [Read more →]

July 17, 2014   1 Comment

Wind Power Slaughter: ex-USFWS Agent Speaks Out on Shiloh IV (California)

It has been well known that Shiloh’s wind turbines have slaughtered protected birds species for years. These fatalities have gone largely undocumented due to the wind industry’s practices of rigging their reports and handing them to the unquestioning USFWS.… [Now] comments submitted by two USFWS retired special agents who spent their careers protecting migratory birds and making cases against other energy companies … [have] a lot to say about the Shiloh five-year eagle killing permit.”

The Shiloh IV Wind Project, located in the Montezuma foothills in California, has received an unprecedented permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allowing it to kill eagles, hawks, peregrine falcons, owls and songs birds while not being subjected to the normal prohibitions afforded under the federal conservation laws. This company now gets a free pass from federal prosecution under the Bald and Eagle and Protection Act and the Migratory Treaty Act.

No other energy company has the liberty to kill birds so indiscriminately while remaining above the law!

The mitigation for this eagle-kill permit was the fixing of a few power poles by the PG&E. Yet PG&E has already been retrofitting poles in this area consistent with its Avian Protection Plan, and if the retrofitting of more power poles was needed the FWS cold have enforced this just as they have for 35 years with other utility companies. Now the FWS and EPA are accepting fraudulent data to trade the slaughter of eagles as if they were carbon credits. It is truly disgraceful.

This permit will allow for the deaths of five golden or bald eagles over a five-year period without the wind farm’s operators being penalized. Everyone has to understand that Shiloh IV is only part of this large wind resource area. All the other sections in this WIND resource area will also be killing eagles and other highly protected species.  

[Read more →]

July 16, 2014   1 Comment

“Killing Wildlife In the Name of Climate Change” (Part I: The Double Standard)

[Editor note: Robert Bryce, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, is a leading researcher and disseminator of the problems of ‘green’ energy. His February 25, 2014, testimony before the Senate Committee on the Environmental and Public Works follows today and tomorrow.]

The focus of this hearing is on the economic benefits of ecosystems and wildlife and how they “are valuable to a wide range of industries,” including tourism. The purpose is also to examine “how the Administration is preparing to protect” ecosystems “in a changing climate.” The facts show that federally subsidized efforts that are being undertaken to, in theory, address climate change, are damaging America’s wildlife.

Furthermore, those same efforts have, for years, been allowing an entire industry to avoid federal prosecution under some of America’s oldest wildlife laws. My discussion will focus largely on the wind-energy sector, an industry that has been getting federal subsidies since 1992, and the impact that the wind-energy business is having on wildlife. [1] There are two key questions that must be addressed:

* Are all energy providers getting equal treatment under the law when it comes to wildlife protection? The answer to that question is no. * Is widespread deployment of wind turbines an effective climate-change strategy? The answer, again, is no. [Part II of Bryce post tomorrow]

Part I; Energy companies are not being treated equally when it comes to enforcement of federal wildlife laws. I have been writing about the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act since the late 1980s. [2] In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the US Fish and Wildlife Service brought hundreds of enforcement cases against the oil and gas industry in Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico, for violations of those laws. And rightly so. [Read more →]

March 19, 2014   5 Comments

Wind Turbine Bird Killings, Disinformation Continue in California (Golden eagles, bald eagles, and more)

“The grim reality is that fewer than 500 golden eagles remain in California. When will authorities wake up to windpower?”

The golden eagle is a vital species in rapid decline, and most of this demise has been relatively recent. Although it has never been publically acknowledged, the primary reason has been the development of wind energy in the middle of the eagle’s foraging habitats.

Ironically, during this golden eagle population crash, bald eagle populations have increased dramatically because, up to now, their habitats have been spared the ravages of wind development. This too will soon change, however, as wind energy installations are built in their wetland habitats across America.

Missing Studies

Proper studies would easily document and explain the decline of golden eagles. But the studies are not being conducted – deliberately, so as to hide and obfuscate what is happening. The clear history of eagle nesting failures and habitat abandonments near wind projects has been hidden from public view, as wind projects have expanded across California and our western states.

Among the undisclosed impacts are those that occur when adult eagles are killed by a turbine during the egg and downy stages of a nesting cycle. During this critical 8-9 week period, there is a 100% probability of a complete nest failure if one adult eagle is lost. A single parent cannot possibly hunt, incubate eggs, and protect its young from the elements.

This history of golden eagle nesting failures near California wind turbines is never clearly stated, but the evidence is there for anyone who wishes to observe or read about it. Some of this impact is revealed in the last environmental impact documents submitted to support expanding the Shiloh wind project in California’s Montezuma Hills Wind Resource Area, although those documents also suggest that a turbine-related nesting failure recently occurred in this area.

Bald Eagles at Risk

The same fate is coming to our bald eagles. This great bird’s population has been expanding in the wetland habitats of California, and the Sacramento River delta provides good foraging and nesting opportunities for them. Adult bald eagles have been seen near the Montezuma Hills WRA turbines, and a possible (never verified) bald eagle nest site was reported nearby on Grizzly Island. [Read more →]

February 26, 2014   No Comments

Bird Kills: The Evidence and Publicity Mounts (Sierra Club, Audubon must stop deceiving memberships)

“Combined together, these clever [evasive] techniques mean that most carcasses are ‘missed.’ In fact, 90% or more of the slaughter can easily be hidden. This … is certainly not ‘scientific or ‘green.’ But it is certainly effective.”

The Wall Street Journal recently published several letters and articles on the environmental impacts of wind energy, adding to a growing body of reportage of wind power’s cruel, ironic byproduct.

Making the public aware of this extremely important issue is essential, because the wind industry has been using bogus research and other methods to hide its slaughter of millions of birds and bats that are supposedly protected by law, putting some species on a path to extinction.

Falsified Science

1. Delayed Search: At Altamont Pass in California, mortality studies have employed 30-90 day search intervals since 1998. These excessively long search intervals ensure that most carcasses disappear before the next search is conducted. In addition, even as wind turbines have grown larger and larger over the years, search areas for carcasses have deliberately been left unchanged. [Read more →]

November 21, 2013   8 Comments

Bald Eagle and Golden Eagle Mortality at Wind Farms: The Sanitized–and Rest–of the Story

“I therefore suspect that the most likely reason for this missing information concerning eagle mortality at wind farm facilities was due to editing from the upper level positions within the ranks of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. These are same people responsible for the wind industry’s voluntary regulations.”

“So here is the rest of the story. Due to the lack of accountability and monitoring, a single permit could actually result in the death of a hundred of any species a permit is issued for. So much for ‘green’ energy and the public’s sacrifice for paying more for electricity.”

A few weeks ago, an article was published in The Journal of Raptor Research, “Bald Eagle and Golden Eagle Mortalities at Wind Energy Facilities in the Contiguous United States.” Information from this article was widely distributed by media outlets across the country. Most of the headlines said 67 eagles had been killed in five years or 85 had been reported killed over the last 15 years. Unfortunately these are the numbers that the public will remember — whereas the hideous truth about eagle mortality remains buried in disinformation.

The four authors of this study all work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). The fact is that so much information is missing from the article is of great concern, because the truth about wind turbine impacts should be disclosed and discussed. Since the authors are experts, I do not believe they could possibly have been so remiss with their findings.

I therefore suspect that the most likely reason for this missing information concerning eagle mortality at wind farm facilities was editing by upper level supervisors and political appointees within the FWS. These are same people responsible for the wind industry having only voluntary regulations for monitoring and reporting wildlife mortalities due to their installations – whereas other industries are subject to mandatory requirements and stiff fines for any fatalities.

In order to illustrate the seriousness of the problems with the article, I will present only the closing statement, and then follow up with a new summary that includes missing information and facts, and my expert opinion.

Summary Paragraph: Actual Article

“This summary likely conveys only a limited portion of eagles killed at non-APWRA wind energy facilities in the contiguous United States, considering the general lack of rigorous monitoring and reporting of eagle mortalities. Thus, our findings of the reported mortalities likely underestimate, perhaps substantially, the number of eagles killed at wind facilities in the United States. [Read more →]

October 16, 2013   11 Comments

Windfarm Mortality: Environmental Disinformation, Ecodamage

“Put simply, wind farms are causing considerable damage to nature’s balance, for no benefit whatsoever to society. Indeed, no country in the world has reduced its carbon footprint thanks to them…. It is high time to call a moratorium on wind farms, and examine the situation after ditching our blinkers.”

Wind turbines kill birds and bats, we all know that, but the billion-dollar question is: how many? I say “billion” because subsidies to the wind industry run into billions of dollars per year in the United States alone, and chances are the public would not support such expenditures if they found out that these machines were driving iconic, useful or beautiful species into extinction. It is therefore important to find out the extent of the mortality caused by their rotor blades and high tension power lines.

In a paper presented in 2009 at the Fourth International Partners in Flight Conference,  U.S. Fish & Wildlife Biologist Dr. Albert M. Manville wrote: “While the wind industry currently estimates that turbines kill 58 000 birds per year in the U.S. … the Service estimates annual mortality at 440 000 birds.” (1) This created quite a stir, and the wind industry tried hard to fight this estimate ever since.

Three years later, consultant biologist Dr. Shawn Smallwood came up with his own estimate in the March 2013 issue of the peer-reviewed Wildlife Society Bulletin: “I estimated 888,000 bat and 573,000 bird fatalities/year (including 83,000 raptor fatalities) at 51,630 megawatt (MW) of installed wind-energy capacity in the United States in 2012.” (2) This prompted Birdwatching Magazine to post on their website: “Smallwood’s number of bird deaths represents a 30 percent jump over the 440,000 fatalities estimated by a 2009 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report” (3). Their counterpart in the UK, Birdwatch, wrote a similar article under the headline: “Wind farm bird deaths more than thought”. (4) [Read more →]

September 26, 2013   14 Comments

Hiding Avian Mortality: Where ‘Green’ is Red (Part II: Wolfe Island)

“It is time for responsible people who care about our environment and wildlife to step forward – and demand investigations; prosecutions for fraud, dereliction of duty, and receipt of taxpayer subsidies and other payments made in reliance on false and misleading reports; a suspension of all payments to wind turbine companies, government officials and environmental groups involved in the deception; termination of permits for wind turbines in or near bird and bat habitats; and enforcement of endangered species and migratory bird laws fully and equally against all industries, including industrial wind power.”

While Altamont Pass operators have been hiding most of their wind turbine mortality with search intervals of 30–90 days (see Part I), the rest of North American wind farms hide mortality by using search areas that are far too small. By using only 50 meter search areas for their huge new turbines, the wind facility operators can easily hide over 90% of fatalities caused from turbine blade strikes.

The motive is obvious. The more avian bloodshed, the more public outcry. The more outcry, the less money for wind industry players. The more they hide the ecological devastation, the more they mute the outcry and maintain the flow of subsidies for wind power.

The horrendous impacts on bird and bat populations across North America are of little concern to these special interests. [Read more →]

September 13, 2013   16 Comments

Hiding “Avian Mortality”: Where ‘Green’ is Red (Part I: Altamont Pass)

“The wind industry is hiding over 90% of the bird and bat mortality caused by their turbines. This statement is supported by the industry’s own data and reasonable adjustments for its manipulations.”

“The wind industry is … producing faulty, misleading and even fraudulent documents to hide the serious and growing mortality. This situation has continued for years but has been shielded by state and federal agencies and other supporters of wind power.”

A “green energy” wildlife genocide is depopulating wildlife habitats across the world where vital species once found refuge. Industrial wind turbines have invaded these habitats and are devastating bird and bat species.

Rather than avoiding these critical habitats or taking steps to minimize impacts on important species, the heavily subsidized wind industry is responding by producing faulty, misleading and even fraudulent documents to hide the serious and growing mortality. This situation has continued for years but has been shielded by state and federal agencies and other supporters of wind power.

Having studied these installations and their wildlife impacts for years, I can say without reservation that most of what people hear and read about the wind industry’s benefits and environmental costs is false. However, buried in thousands of pages of wind industry documents are data, omissions and calculations that tell a wind turbine mortality story that is far different from what is portrayed in industry press releases, mainstream news stories and official government reports.

I have frequently said the wind industry is hiding over 90% of the bird and bat mortality caused by their turbines. This statement is supported by the industry’s own data and reasonable adjustments for its manipulations. These calculations will help people understand how the industry is using its studies to hide millions of fatalities; they will also help local residents and officials understand “wind farm” impacts and their role in species extinctions that could soon exact an irreversible toll in many regions.

My analysis focuses on two North American wind resource areas that are well known for killing raptors, other birds and bats: Altamont Pass in southern California and, in Part II next week, Wolfe Island in eastern Lake Ontario, on the Ontario-New York border. [Read more →]

September 4, 2013   26 Comments