August 21, 2014 | David F. Coppedge

Animals Dying for Subsidized Energy Projects

Windmills and solar farms may be politically correct and environmentally trendy, but bats and birds disagree.

Scorched bird policy:  Drive on the I-15 from Baker toward Las Vegas, and you will be struck by the sight of three white-hot solar furnaces lit up by many acres of reflecting mirrors, their bright foci distorting the air around them into eery alien atmospheres.  Owned by Google and two energy companies under the name BrightSource Energy, the project was funded by $1.6 billion in taxpayer dollars according to CA Capitol Review.  One problem: the light and heat is scorching birds in mid-air.  PhysOrg reported concerns about a “significant number of birds igniting and falling as they fly above the plant.

Battered bats:  New-fangled wind turbines are “responsible for the death of numerous bats” wherever they are built, whether Europe or America.  In “Bats versus wind turbines,” PhysOrg shows pictures of battered bats lying on the ground, suffering and dying.  Killing bats is illegal, but since spending government money takes precedence over environmental concern, turbine owners are getting away with mass battery:

Unfortunately, wind turbines even attract bats. During the mating season in autumn, bats swarm at conspicuous landscape features such as exposed rocks, church towers or even wind turbines, and in the latter case they may then collide with the blades. Christian Voigt is surprised that only few far-reaching measures have been taken that stop wind turbines to turn into deadly traps: “Bats are protected under both national law and EU law, and migratory species are protected by a UN convention signed by Germany. Anyone who kills a bat on purpose can be prosecuted for a criminal offence.” There is little emphasis on making operators of wind turbines accountable for these bat accidents because increasing the share of renewable energy is a political priority. “The protection of climate and species are played off against each other – but for a comprehensive approach to environmental conservation they should really go hand in hand.”

Birds, too, are being killed by wind turbines—even protected birds and endangered species, like eagles.  An optimistic Department of Energy press release posted by Berkeley Lab touted the economic benefits of wind turbines, but said nothing about the “numerous” deaths of birds and bats.

Do you remember the horrendous outcries about oil-covered birds whenever oil spills have occurred?  Do you remember the environmentalist extremists shrieking with righteous indignation over possible effects of oil and gas development on wildlife, such as the never-proven worries about the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, where hardly anything lives, and only a tiny fraction was being considered for drilling?  The silence by environmentalists over these reports about windmills and solar farms is shameful.

Just imagine the hurdles a developer must go through for a new oil rig, refinery or nuclear power plant.  The government is driving thousands of people out of work in coal towns, but ugly wind farms and solar farms spring up like weeds, funded with taxpayer dollars without their consent, running roughshod over slipshod environmental impact reports.  In California, the EIR for another new solar farm warned of significant degradation of the natural beauty of an area known for its fantastic spreads of California poppies in spring.  No matter, they built it anyway, the recipients of government money running off with their riches, leaving the town of Palmdale to deal with the resulting duststorms after square miles of prime poppy habitat were scraped clean of the natural ground cover.  Who knows how many birds are being affected by those hot mirrors now, or how many bats are being batted by the spinning blades of the German-made wind turbines ruining the view of the nearby Tehachapi mountains?

If conservatives caused this much animal death and habitat destruction, they would have hell to pay in the media and lawsuits from NGO’s (non-governmental agencies, like the Sierra Club).  But call it “sustainable” or “environmental” and you get a pass.  This is the price of political correctness.  Voters had better wake up to what leftists do with power.


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  • Buho says:

    Wesley J. Smith over at ENV might disagree with you. When do the rights of bats and birds trump the needs of humans? Such disagreement suggests it’s not a “liberal” vs “conservative” fight.

    At any rate, what does this have to do with creation or evolution? The tangential connection with PC bias in the media is thin here; it is much more clearly documented elsewhere in this site on creation and evolution matters.

    • Editor says:

      Buho, the inconsistency of the leftist environmentalists indicts themselves, as shown in commentary. Creationists believe in human exceptionalism, but the typical leftist environmentalists do not. Yet they don’t bat an eye as bats are batted out of the sky by tax-subsidized turbine blades. These are the same people that, with few exceptions, are staunch evolutionists. Nevertheless, you are right that stewardship of nature should be of concern to every human being regardless of politics. While we acknowledge human energy needs, we are appalled at the slaughter of birds and bats by these structures and believe actions should be taken to minimize the damage to wildlife from any energy technology. I think Wesley J. Smith would agree with that; we agree with him that concern about insect suffering is just silly. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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