NOVEMBER 22, 2013

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          WASHINGTON – Duke Energy Renewables Inc., a subsidiary of Duke Energy Corp., based in Charlotte, N.C., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Wyoming today to violating the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) in connection with the deaths of protected birds, including golden eagles, at two of the company’s wind projects in Wyoming.  This case represents the first ever criminal enforcement of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act for unpermitted avian takings at wind projects.

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Money Trumps Science? Feds Broaden Eagle-Kill Law, Enviro Groups Angry

December 6, 2013

In a long-anticipated move that has prompted howls of outrage from conservation groups, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced it will be extending the maximum length of the permits it’s granting wind energy facility operators to injure or kill bald and golden eagles.

The permits, technically known as take permits under the federal Bald And Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA), will be extended to last up to 30 years from the current maximum of five years, according to a new rule that will be published Monday in the Federal Register.

The change in the tenure of eagle take permits, which has been in the works for more than a year, marks an historic reversal of USFWS policy in its enforcement of the nation’s eagle protection laws — and some normally moderate environmental groups are condemning it in no uncertain terms.


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Golden eagle death cited by wind turbine opponents


BOULEVARD, Calif. – A bizarre incident has led to the death of a golden eagle in the Boulevard area.

The death was not caused by wind turbines, but some say it could be a game changer for the future of local wind projects.

Sam Mckernan drove upon the scene along state Route 94 Wednesday afternoon.

“It was just overwhelming. I was crying,” said Mckernan.

A golden eagle was wedged in the rearview mirror of a semi-truck.

Mckernan called her friend Frannie Heath, who came out to the scene.

10News was told the driver described it this way.

“As they were both going westbound, he got caught between the semi-truck’s passenger side and mirror. It ripped off his poor wing and apparently broke his leg at the same time,” said Heath.

An animal services officer was called out and euthanized the eagle.

The golden eagle is not endangered, but it is federally protected and a major focus when it comes to approving wind energy projects.

Donna Tisdale, who chairs the Boulevard planning group, says proposals for many projects, including one recent one, contend there is little to no presence of golden eagles in the Boulevard area and the Campo Indian Reservation.

“Residents have testified and submitted declarations that they had witnessed eagles here within the reservation boundaries, but they say we’re not experts … that we don’t know what golden eagles are,” said Tisdale.

Tisdale says sadly, this death is good evidence that the eagles are in the area and putting up more turbines in the area is a definite risk.

It is evidence that could be put to the test soon, as a handful of wind projects go up for approval. Others face court challenges.

On an unrelated about birds and turbines – for the first time, a company earlier this week pleaded guilty to killing golden eagles.

It is a case from Wyoming involving Duke Energy Renewables. That company must pay a million dollar fine as punishment.

Dead raptor near Imperial County wind project raises new concerns about wildlife impacts

by Chris Clarke | ReWire | November 26, 2013 |


The discovery last week of a dead hawk in the hills between the Ocotillo Express Wind Facility and the Sunrise Powerlink has residents of the nearby town of Ocotillo concerned about how their local raptors are faring with more than 100 new wind turbines in their town.

The dead bird, which ReWire’s sources have preliminarily identified as a ferruginous hawk, was found by an Ocotillo resident over the weekend in a small wash off Shell Canyon Road north of the Imperial County hamlet, less than half a mile from the northern tier of the wind project’s 440-foot turbines.

Though the photographs ReWire has obtained do not show conclusive photographic evidence of a cause of death. But finding an individual of North America’s largest hawk species dead of unexplained causes more than a half mile from a wind turbine raises questions how wind energy facility operators monitor wildlife mortalities.

According to Ocotillo resident Jim Pelley, an acquaintance discovered the bird and took Pelley to the site to document it. The two took photos and recorded GPS information, left the bird on site and alerted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to their find.

ReWire obtained photos of the hawk from Pelley. Though the photo we’ve published below is not particularly gruesome, we’ve blurred it out for the sake of sensitive readers.


The condition of the remains confounded ReWire’s attempts at identification, so we shared the photo with Bay Area-based naturalists Ron Sullivan and Joe Eaton. They replied that they were fairly confident the body belonged to a ferruginous hawk, Buteo regalis, a very large hawk that primarily feeds on small mammals.

Though its numbers have been slowly increasing across most of California since a nadir in the 20th Century, the ferruginous hawk is still a California Species of Special Concern, and like many other birds is protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

The bird’s carcass shows obvious signs that scavenging animals consumed part of it, perhaps carrying it to the location in which it was found. That location was well outside the usual distance from turbine pylons within which biologists in the employ of wind companies generally conduct surveys for injured or killed birds. Wind companies usually contend that birds injured by blade strike generally fall to the ground within an area not much farther from the pylons than the length of the turbines blades.

But assuming that this bird:

  1. was indeed a ferruginous hawk, whose adults weigh from two to four and a half pounds, and
  1. was indeed injured or killed by one of the project’s blades,

… then the fact that it was found about half a mile from the nearest turbine would suggest that a typical mortality survey radius of 50 meters from the nearest turbine pole might be far too small.

That’s true even if a coyote did pick this hawk up from underneath a turbine tower and carried it off for a leisurely snack.


November 16, 2013

A message from Digby, Nova Scotia.

From: Debi VanTassel
Date: Fri, Nov 15, 2013
Subject: Ocean Breeze Emu Farm-closing

Dear Friends,
It is with great sorrow that I write this e-mail.
Due to the abuse we are experiencing from the Industrial Wind Turbines our emus have suffered greatly. First with the installation of the test towers and the high pitch sounds emitting from them, we lost 26 of our 38 emus with no eggs laid. During the time the turbines were erected and the test towers were still in place; we lost 5 more emus. Leaving us 8 emus. The Agriculture in Truro reported to us that these birds had died of fear.
Three years after the turbines were up and running we finally had 7 eggs and 4 out of the seven survived, expanding our emu count to 11. A female emu will lay approximately 40 to 50 and we were accustom to incubating 100 per year in which half would hatch.
The next two years we had no eggs on the third year we had 52 eggs laid and 27 chicks hatched.
From the time the Industrial Wind Turbines were erected we here had NO meat or oil to sell–only the egg shells to generate any income from our emu farm.  Two years ago we put up a little shop selling polished beach stone jewellery and novelties, which Judy and Dave (Davey’s Mom and Dad) and I create. People come to see the emus and sometimes visit the shop. Unfortunately, this does not generate enough revenue to even begin to support our farm.
Over the past two years we have struggled to keep these 35 emus alive, but we could not keep their weight up…the agitation from the turbines caused them to run and run night and day wearing them down to practically nothing. The young ones suffered the most from the effects of the infrasound emitting from the turbines.
Emus habits are to lay down together at dusk–males and females pick their mates and the others huddle together for sleep.  We noticed that our emus were not laying down, but running through the night. We noticed that the birds were getting thinner and thinner. We contacted the feed company and they added more vitamins and fibre to the feed hoping that this would help, but unfortunately it did not.
In the last two weeks we lost 5 our the younger emus. We have SEVEN of the 27 emus and SIX of the mature emus remaining; totalling 13 in all. We cannot prove that it is due to the effect of the turbines, but one thing we do know is that for the 18+ years before the turbines we NEVER had any problems with our birds, no unexplained deaths, no agitation they would lay down in the evening content and low us to sleep with their gentle drumming. We had healthy, productive, and content emus.
People would come literally from all over the world to visit our emus. Some from Sweden, Austria, Holland, London, all over United States and Canada, senior buses and tour buses have come to visit our Emu Farm and have been delighted in the antic and uniqueness of our emus. One of our emus “Ernie” was taken to Halifax to the Children’s Museum and appeared on the Breakfast TV show.
These unique animals have not only supplied us with healthy meat, eggs, and oil, but have brought entertainment, joy and happiness to everyone who has had the opportunity to meet them…they will be truly missed.
So with great sadness, after 18+ years with our emu farm, Ocean Breeze Emu Farm will be closing. We would like to thank everyone who has supported us and may God Bless you.
Davey and Deb Van Tassel

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service draft advances first-ever eagle ‘take’ permit for existing wind farm

by Scott Streater
Environment & Energy Sept 27, 2013
The Fish and Wildlife Service has released its initial analysis for what could become the first permit authorizing a wind power operator to kill or harm golden eagles.
Fish and Wildlife’s draft environmental assessment (EA) analyzes the impacts of granting a so-called programmatic take permit to San Diego-based EDF Renewable Energy that would allow up to five golden eagles to be killed or harmed over a five-year period at its Shiloh IV Wind Project in Solano County, Calif.
The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act defines “take” as to “pursue, shoot, shoot at, poison, wound, kill, capture, trap, collect, destroy, molest, or disturb” individual eagles, their nests and eggs.
The draft EA was published in today’s Federal Register, kicking off a 45-day public comment period ending Nov. 12.
Fish and Wildlife’s draft EA analyzes four alternatives, and the service’s “preferred alternative” would allow the company to take a maximum of five golden eagles over five years but in exchange would require it to apply advanced conservation practices that include adopting mitigation measures to protect eagles from power lines and turbine blades and retrofitting 133 utility power poles in the first year of operation to prevent electrocution of birds.

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Windfarm Mortality: Environmental Disinformation, Eco-damage

MasterSeptember 26, 2013By Mark DuChamp

“Put simply, wind farms are causing considerable damage to nature’s balance, for no benefit whatsoever to society. Indeed, no country in the world has reduced its carbon footprint thanks to them…. It is high time to call a moratorium on wind farms, and examine the situation after ditching our blinkers.”

Wind turbines kill birds and bats, we all know that, but the billion-dollar question is: how many? I say “billion” because subsidies to the wind industry run into billions of dollars per year in the United States alone, and chances are the public would not support such expenditures if they found out that these machines were driving iconic, useful or beautiful species into extinction. It is therefore important to find out the extent of the mortality caused by their rotor blades and high tension power lines.

In a paper presented in 2009 at the Fourth International Partners in Flight Conference, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Biologist Dr. Albert M. Manville wrote: “While the wind industry currently estimates that turbines kill 58 000 birds per year in the U.S. … the Service estimates annual mortality at 440 000 birds.” (1) This created quite a stir, and the wind industry tried hard to fight this estimate ever since.

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UK Energy giant SSE faces more flak over Strathy turbine plans

JohnSeptember 20, 2013

Energy giant SSE is being told its proposed huge wind farm at Strathy would kill and drive away golden eagles and other rare birds and despoil an area at the heart of the flow country of Caithness and Sutherland.

The message was spelled out loud and clear at a public meeting called by the company to discuss the potential impact its 47-turbine development earmarked for a forested area to the south of the village would have on the natural environment.

Red throatAs reported in the Courier, the RSPB is objecting to the plans because of concern about the potential toll on nationally and internationally important concentrations of birds like golden eagles, red-throated divers and greenshanks. The nature body also fears the turbines would be bad news for the surrounding tract of blanket bog, which is subject to international conservation designations.

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Hiding Avian Mortality: Where ‘Green’ is Red (Part II: Wolfe Island)

MasterSeptember 13, 2013
by Jim Weigand

The Wolfe Island Studies
In early 2011, the company that owns and operates the 86 wind turbines on Wolfe Island released its first mortality study. After making “adjustments,” the study estimated that the turbines killed 602 birds and 1,270 bats between July 1 and December 31, 2009; an additional 549 birds and 450 bats were killed between January 1 and June 30, 2010. The total fatality toll for the twelve months was estimated to be 1,141 birds, 24 raptors, and 1,720 bats.

Original article:

The huge number of fatalities generated extensive negative publicity around the world, and the Wolfe Island wind installation quickly became known as Canada’s deadliest energy facility. In response to this criticism’ and under the direction of the country’s Ministry of Natural Resources, new “management” procedures were adopted that would supposedly reduce these turbine impacts. Follow-up studies “indicated” that the new procedures for were having a positive impact and Wolfe Island wind turbine mortality was being reduced.

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Energy and the environment: Why not have both? Sherri Lange responds

TulsaWSeptember 8, 2013
by Mike Jones, Associate Editor

I recently was involved in a brief but interesting mini-debate with a colleague over energy production and the environment. Not being an award-winning debater, I took the path of least resistance and came down on both sides of the argument.

Read Mike Jones’ original article
in Tulsa World
I have written before urging that opposing elements on various issues such as climate change or immigration reform find a common ground. I also have asked that our leaders listen more to the voices of the middle rather than the extremes on each end. Success in either endeavor has been, well, limited.

Nevertheless, I believe that there is a middle ground in the discussion of protecting our environment and keeping the lights on and our vehicles running.

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