Tuesday

January 17th, 2017

Insight

Bye Bye Birdies

Greg Crosby

By Greg Crosby

Published May 27, 2016

Wanna know why conservatives like me don't trust liberal-progressive policies and big government? Keep reading and you might get a clue.

Let's begin with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, that esteemed agency that, among other things, has the responsibility of protecting bald and golden eagles from extinction. What a joke. I might use that old axiom, "like a fox guarding the henhouse," to make my point except what the agency is doing is even worse. They are not only putting the fox in with the chickens, they are actually encouraging him to eat.

Simply put, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is attempting once again to make it easier for the wind industry to kill golden and bald eagles (along with hundreds of thousands of other birds). Three weeks ago the agency opened public comment on "proposed improvements" to its eagle conservation program. It wants to extend the length of permits for accidental eagle kills from the current five years to 30 years. What this does is, it allows wind-energy producers to kill or injure as many as 4,200 bald eagles every year. If you don't think that's a lot, consider that the agency itself estimates there are now only about 72,434 bald eagles left in the continental U.S.

A 2013 study found that 573,000 birds and 888,000 bats were killed in 2012 alone by wind turbines --- a figure 30 percent higher than the federal government estimated in 2009. The number of deaths has undoubtedly gone higher as wind power capacity has increased by something like 24% since then across the country.

Michael Hutchins of the American Bird Conservancy has said, "We don't really know how many birds are being killed now by wind turbines because the wind industry doesn't have to report the data. It's considered a trade secret." And that secret extends to the Wildlife Service. That's right folks, yet another "secret" in the Barak Obama secret treasure trove, the administration that was supposed to be "the most transparent of all time."

The thing is, so-called "green energy" is so embraced by the Feds that for them the murder of 4200 eagles is no big deal. Talk about "crony capitalism," the green industry is so deeply in bed with the federal government that they might as well shop for furniture and drapes and have a wedding.

But it's the hypocrisy of it all that really makes your stomach turn. Remember way back six years ago when BP's oil rig exploded and released 5 million barrels of crude into the Gulf of Mexico? Environmentalists went bat-crazy over it and are still angry. Even now they point to the fact that 800,000 birds have died since the spill six years ago. Maybe. That figure has been disputed. But even if true, far more birds (2.9 million) have been killed by wind turbines in that same timeframe. It's been estimated that the Pelican population has decreased 12 percent thanks to the "eco-friendly" windmills. But do the environmentalists ever mention that? Of course not.

In 2011 the Fish and Wildlife Service convinced the Justice Department to file criminal indictments against three oil companies working in North Dakota's Bakken field for inadvertently killing six ducks and one phoebe, yet they do everything they can to accommodate an industry that is killing iconic wildlife while at the same time collecting huge subsidies from taxpayers. What a wonderful government we have.

The most precious of all the birds are our beautiful golden eagles, which are even rarer than bald eagles. These birds are supposed to be federally protected but our own government in concert with the wind turbine industry is killing them. While all the time the environmental lobby groups keep silent on this.

As the cowboys might say, "Them's the facts." And that's why conservatives like me continue to have serious doubts about a big brother government who claims to want to make life better for all of us. Oh sure, just trust in the government. Right. You bet.

For some time I've thought our bloated federal government was for the birds. I was wrong. It turns out they are for the wind industry. If this was a New York Daily News headline it might read, "Uncle Sam to America's golden eagles: Drop Dead!"

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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. He's been a JWR contributor since 1999.

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