An Associated Press investigation has discovered that hundreds of thousands of protected birds are killed each year by wind farms, but that the deaths have been kept secret and are never prosecuted.
An estimate by the Wildlife Society Bulletin supposes that 573,000 birds are killed by wind farms each year, including 83,000 hunting birds such as hawks, falcons and eagles. Each one of those deaths is a federal crime.
The Obama administration has never prosecuted a wind energy company for killing a bird, Fox News reported. The administration has prosecuted oil companies when birds drown in their waste pits and power companies when birds are killed by their power lines.
The deaths of the rare birds show there are certainly some downsides to using renewable energy. The amount of available wind power has doubled during President Obama’s first term.
"It is the rationale that we have to get off of carbon, we have to get off of fossil fuels, that allows them to justify this," said long-time environmentalist Tom Dougherty. "But at what cost? In this case, the cost is too high."
Some feel that it appears a double standard has been put in place that allows wind power companies off the hook but still holds oil and electric companies accountable.
It doesn’t sound like this issue will be going away anytime soon. Grainger Hunt is an eagle expert who researches the U.S. wind-power industry and the effect that it has had on the eagle population in a northern California area known as Altamont Pass.
“There is nothing in the evolution of eagles that would come near to describing a wind turbine,” Hunt said. “There has never been an opportunity to adapt to that sort of threat.”