Wind farms accused of concealing deaths of protected species

As the wind industry loses favour around the globe, watchdog groups are demanding accountability from the huge corporate interests that run them. According to reports, bird toll census numbers are being rigged by burying or otherwise concealing mutilated bird carcasses rather than reporting them. Not only is wind power proven to be ineffective in terms of both cost and energy production, but its devastating effects on soaring birds, bats, the environment and communities is increasingly being condemned. 

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The letter below, from noted US wildlife biologist and wind energy expert Jim Wiegand and sent in response to a report in the The Journal, is being shared to highlight some of the reasons for demanding full disclosure from, and stricter regulation of wind farms. In addition, it’s important that any investigation into the industry should include testimony from leading engineers and wind turbine developers not involved with the antiquated and lethal propeller-style turbine. In this way it will be evident what a dead-end road this industry, in its current incarnation, has lead us down.

“Editor, I would like to comment and further enlighten you readers on the recent story “Bird Deaths Prompt Wind Rules – USFWS and Voluntary Guidelines”. The USFWS Voluntary Guidelines need to be examined closely for what they are. As it is there are clear Federal and State laws on the books that protect rare and endangered species. But for the wind industry these laws are just voluntary. Your state has speed limits. Are they voluntary? Murder, rape, assault and so on, are the laws of any of these crimes voluntary for any special group? The point is that the USFWS is not protecting the nation’s rare and endangered species nor is it upholding the laws that were written to protect them. The reality is that the voluntary guidelines along with the incidental take permit, were created for this industry in Washington to bypass environmental law.

It is well known that wind turbines cause bird and bat mortality however the total magnitude of this impact cannot ever be fully understood until there is complete transparency. Thanks to the USFWS , there is no transparency. This information is made even more difficult to obtain when the access the wind properties is conveniently limited by the industry itself. Keep in mind, wind farms have been known to conceal blade strike victims as in Spain where the bodies of 19 unreported griffon vultures were found buried on wind farm property. I have been told that wind industry contracts and leases also have gag clauses written into them so this information can be limited. I believe the concealment of blade strike mortality is it is a routine practice for the industry.

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To insure transparency all wind farms should be required to operate with specific conditions. Every wind farm should be subject to inspection at any time by non-industry biologists and college enrolled wildlife biology students that would be more than willing to survey properties. Also the unreported disposal or hiding of bodies of any protected species should be treated as a felony with corresponding large fines against the wind farm. The use of 24 hour video camera/web cams with feeds to an accessible internet site should be required of any and all turbines in high priority habitats. Each wind farm should also be set up with mandatory mortality thresholds and shut down if these thresholds are met.

VIDEO – Griffon vulture struck by a blade in Greece

If the public truly wants transparency they will demand guidelines to keep the public informed of the true impact of wind farms to protected bird species in their regions. For obvious reasons, NO wind farm should ever be able to police their own facilities. In California, Condors have disappeared without a trace and in the Texas 2009, 23 Whooping Cranes disappeared without a trace. These are huge birds not even a feather was found. Wind farms sit in both of their habitats.

[singlepic id=331w=286 h=375 float=left]Electrical power lines and lead poisoning are commonly given as the probable reasons. If one were to think about all this logically the truth becomes obvious. If you were a California Condor, a Golden Eagle or a Whooping Crane would you rather glide into a stationary and even flexible power line or be smashed with a several ton wind turbine blade moving at 220 mph? Transmission lines are not killing off the Red kite population in Europe. The propeller style wind turbine is. Power lines also haven’t killed the 2000-2500 Golden Eagles that have perished at Altamont Pass.   

There is a glimmer of hope in all this because taxpayers are finally starting to understand how their money is being manipulated and funneled off into the bank accounts of greedy corporations. The wind industry is one of these industries.

 

Eagles & Wind Farms: Mortality Statistics

 Additional Information from America:

After some wind power projects have had dramatically higher bird deaths than predicted, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a set of voluntary guidelines to reduce bird deaths.

Those guidelines, if adopted by the government and developers, could force significant changes to projects, including those along the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario.

Bird conservation groups want the guidelines to be mandatory rules. Wind power proponents say the guidelines are too strict as they stand.

William R. Evans, director of the nonprofit Old Bird Inc., Ithaca, said the placement of wind projects is a complicated balance between the need and political momentum for renewable wind energy and the desire to protect wildlife. You can read the complete story here.

Submitted by Lyndsey

Related Articles:

Wind power turbines in Altamont Pass threaten protected birds

Golden eagle killed by wind turbine

The green killer: Scores of protected golden eagles dying after colliding with wind turbines

Golden eagle killed by Washington wind turbines

US Windturbine projects stalled over potential Golden Eagle Slaughter

Wind turbines decimating populations of American golden eagles


 

3 comments to Wind farms accused of concealing deaths of protected species

  • Lyndsey

    If it’s happening in the US you can be sure it is happening here. I live in the Highlands and I am convinced birds are being killed by turbines. How else would you explain the disappearance of 4 or 5 Red Kites since a nearby wind farm became operational?

    Anyone who cares enough should pile on the pressure to their MPs, MSPs, MEPs, Councillors and the Press. There is a growing movement against these inefficient monsters. People plunged into fuel poverty by increasing energy bills are beginning to realise they are funding these wind farms by additions to their energy bills that they haven’t agreed to pay.

    The House of Lords have a bill through it’s second reading for safe distance for residents. The Australian Senate has called for urgent research into health impacts of people living near turbines. There is a case being heard now in the High Court in this country brought by a couple forced to leave their home because of the noise of nearby turbines. The maths doesn’t add up nor does the science of the pro wind lobby.

    It can only be a matter of time before this ridiculous policy is abandoned but until then we have to keep writing and making our feelings known. I personally don’t care what makes them stop building wind farms as long as they do. Somehow I don’t think it will be the protection of our wildlife. The threat of being sued for compensation by residents damaged by living too close to them is more likely. Whatever it is that means most to us as individuals we have to keep on at those that govern us and not let up. To do nothing is worse.

  • Circus maximus

    They know that wind turbines kill birds. Through the EIA process (and public inquiries) they openly discuss how many they will kill. It used to be legal to kill protected species as an incendental part of a lawful activity. However this is no longer the case. The planners and the police have not moved with the legislation.

    Now, if they build a turbine which they predict will kill specially protected species and it then kills a specially protected species it is quite simply a premeditated offence.

    If the RSPB had the bottle(they have the money) they should take out an injunction to block a windfarm development then prosecute the applicants for intent to commit a crime.

  • Lyndsey

    Will the RSPB act though? At a local proposed wind farm site there is the very rare Slavonian Grebe. The RSPB, prior to the application being submitted, expressed great concerns about the problems this development would have on the Grebe. The adjacent SSSI site, according to them, would be good for maintaining and enhancing their numbers and was vital for their future conservation in the UK. In their consultation response their concerns remain yet they did not object to the development.

    The developer’s bird survey took less than the recommended three year period and as this bird only flies at night it would be difficult to establish absolute flight patterns and ensure it’s safety within a wind farm development.

    The RSPB’s reasons for not objecting are not available to the public. There are confidential documents in the developer’s Environmental Statement that may contain those reasons but it is impossible to know for sure.

    Not a very transparent procedure is it?