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August 19, 2014

The Environmental Movement Becomes a Bird-Killing Machine


It’s not just wind turbines wiping out thousands of birds; it turns out that solar plants can also take a heavy toll.
The Associated Press reports that federal wildlife officials have visited a state-of-the-art solar energy plant in the Mojave Desert to investigate reports that thousands of birds are being killed by the project.
These are not your typical solar panels. According to the AP, “More than 300,000 mirrors, each the size of a garage door, reflect solar rays onto three boiler towers each looming up to 40 stories high. The water inside is heated to produce steam, which turns turbines that generate enough electricity for 140,000 homes.”
Those mirrors can kill a bird almost immediately if it flies in the path of their concentrated reflection. Federal investigators watched as birds entering the reflected rays ignite in midair and turn into a smoke plume. The locals apparently refer to the incinerated birds as “streamers.” Don’t know if that term was meant to be clever or funny, but it isn’t.
The Center for Biological Diversity estimates that the project kills about 28,000 birds a year. Federal officials reported a streamer every two minutes.
Of course, wind farms also have had a long history of killing birds. The government’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that wind farms kill about 500,000 birds a year, including raptors such as eagles. Killing federally protected birds like raptors is against the law, and perpetrators can be prosecuted.
How has the Obama administration responded to this threat to an endangered species?  By allowing wind farms to get an “Incidental Take Permit,” which allows them to kill protected birds as long as the wind farm operators can demonstrate that they are trying to minimize the killing.
Self-proclaimed environmentalists lecture the rest of us about using less energy, even as the rich ones fly around in private jets. They will starve farmers of water to protect an insignificant though endangered fish, even as many of these same people turn a blind eye to the mass destruction of birds, including endangered species.
It’s exactly these kinds of flagrant inconsistencies that make it so hard to take the left seriously—on anything.


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