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    Source:  Dona Tracy

    Is Your Wildlife/Nature Organization Selling You Out?  

    Source:  Dona Tracy | Action alerts, Essays, U.S.

    Warning: This Post Contains Pictures the American Wind Energy Association and Some Environmental and Wildlife Protection Organizations like the Sierra Club Do Not Want You to See.

    This Article’s Images »

    (Photo credits: Thank you to those organizations and people around the world who provide photographic evidence of this environmental tragedy. Among them are sekano.net, Lygeium, the Center for Biological Diversity, Mark Duchamp, Darryl Mueller and other dedicated organizations and people.)

    Do you know where your money and representation goes when you support a wildlife, environmental or nature organization? If you think it is going to save and protect wildlife you might want to take a second look. (A list of some of the National wildlife protection groups can be found below.)

    The Sierra Club, who pleads to its members for support to save The Endangered Species Act, is lobbying on the side of the American Wind Energy Association to take the teeth out of it. Even though thousands of birds, bats, eagles and other endangered species die every year from deadly collisions with wind turbines. And it is a global problem.

    From the Sierra Club’s website:

    “The Endangered Species Act is one of America’s most effective tools for safeguarding our fish and wildlife heritage.

    Thanks to this landmark law, wild salmon still spawn in the rivers of the Pacific Northwest, wolves have returned to Yellowstone, and the bald eagle soars from coast to coast. The ESA has been successful in keeping over 99 percent of all the fish and wildlife under its care from going extinct, but the Bush administration is rushing to gut the law by changing regulations to make it easier for developers to pave and pollute the nation’s wildlands and our special places.”

    While Sierra Club accuses the Bush administration of rushing to gut the law, and may not be attempting to change regulations, it is backing an industry that wants to ignore the laws by essentially sparing itself from oversight, compliance and responsibility with US Fish and Wildlife requested standards and regulations, the Endangered Species Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Bald and Golden Eagle Act, the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.

    Congressman Rahall D-W.VA proposed a section to a larger energy bill, now being debated in Congress, that would direct the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to publish standards for siting, construction and monitoring of wind projects to mitigate and control further illegal harm to protected wildlife and endangered species.

    Of course, the wind energy developers, represented by the American Wind Energy Association, who has gotten a free ride on regulations thus far, went into a tail-spin of public relations hysteria claiming Rahall’s legislation was anti-wind and would “essentially outlaw” the generation of new wind power plants and wind turbines in the US and criminalize this rapidly developing industry.

    And the Sierra Club is backing them up on the killing and/or watering down of this life-saving amendment while some important wildlife protection organizations simply refuse, or weren’t aware of it, to take a stand.

    The American Wind Energy Association claims Subtitle D would burden wind power with ‘sweeping new requirements that have never applied to other energy sectors’. Of course, no other energy sector has been responsible for the direct and irrefutable carnage of thousands of dead birds, bats, eagles and other endangered species in alarming and growing numbers right at the front steps of their industrial plants and facilities.

    They also claim the US Fish and Wildlife Service and its scientists are by and large incompetent and ill-equipped to review existing and planned wind projects while omitting the fact that this review would be on behalf of the wildlife and endangered species the US Fish and Wildlife Service is mandated to protect. Not only are they charged with the responsibility of protecting birds and threatened and endangered species but they are also charged with enforcing the laws.

    Additionally, the wind industry claims birds do not fly into wind turbines, they simply fly around them. This is based on one industry biased study done in Denmark, who is one of the largest producers and exporters of wind turbines in the world. And has been used over and over again in the media to suppress the truth on bird and bat kills at wind farms.

    However AWEA also claims to be working with environmental groups and scientists to address the issue of the deaths to birds and bats at wind farms. So which is it? Are birds and bats being killed or are they not? If they are not, why is this industry claiming to be working to reduce a non-existent impact?

    But Rahall, who supports wind power as a renewable energy resource, believes that while wind power should be a part of the Nation’s energy portfolio it needs to grow responsibly “I suspect” he said recently “wind projects are on a regular basis in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Endangered Species Act, yet no enforcement action is being taken”.

    The evidence of Rahall’s statement is born out by the Center for Biological Diversity in California who has been fighting for these billion-dollar businesses to operate in compliance with the law. Over twenty-years there have been 17,000 to 25,000 illegal raptor (eagles, hawks, falcons and owls) deaths at the Altamont Pass Wind Farm and to date the laws have not been enforced, no fines have been paid nor has any meaningful mitigation taken place to prevent more deaths to raptors and endangered species there in the future. Additionally, new studies in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ontario and New York, to name a few, are showing thousands of migratory bats and birds are being slaughtered by wind turbine blades.

    According to Donald Michael Fry, PhD, the Director of the Pesticides and Birds Program at the American Bird Conservancy, testimony to the House Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Oceans Oversight Hearing on: “Gone with the Wind: Impacts of Wind Turbines on Birds and Bats”:

    “The mortality at wind farms is significant, because many of the species most impacted are already in decline and all sources of mortality contribute to the continuing decline.”

    “The wind energy industry has been constructing and operating wind projects for almost 25 years with little state and federal oversight. They have rejected as either too costly or unproven techniques recommended by NWCC” (and other avian experts) “to reduce bird deaths. The wind industry ignores the expertise of state energy staff and the knowledgeable advice of Fish and Wildlife Service employees on ways to reduce or avoid bird and wildlife impacts.”

    Please read the congressional testimony of a public interest law firm that provides legal representation to not for profit environmental, conservation and animal protection organizations HERE to understand why this bill is of vital importance to the development of the wind industry in this country and others.

    Below are two of the Federal Laws Rahall’s proposal wants to see carried out and enforced by the US Fish and Wildlife Service that is being fought tooth and nail by the wind industry so they will not have to be in compliance or even take them into consideration when siting wind turbines:

    The Bald and Golden Eagle Act

    Subdivision (a) makes it a criminal offense to “knowingly, or with wanton disregard for the consequences of his act take . . . in any manner . . . any golden eagle . . . .” 16 U.S.C. § 668(a).

    ‘[T]ake’ includes also . . . kill, . . . molest or disturb.” 16 U.S.C. § 668c.

    Penalties: up to $500,000 fine and two years imprisonment for each eagle killed.

    The Migratory Bird Treaty Act

    “[I]t shall be unlawful at any time, by any means or in any manner, to pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill, attempt to take, capture, or kill, [or] possess . . . any migratory bird, any part, nest, or eggs of any such bird . . . .”

    Penalties: For each bird killed, up to $15,000 fine and six months imprisonment.

    One would think this ‘environmentally friendly’ industry and so called wildlife protection group like the Sierra Club would welcome standards, guidelines and oversight from the US Fish and Wildlife Service if for no other reason than ‘an ounce of prevention would be worth, literally, a pound of cure”. Especially since this growing industry presents itself as struggling and often seeks public lands and waters on which to build their projects at little cost to them (The Cape Wind project, proposed by a private developer for federal waters off of Cape Cod, MA would built an industrial wind power plant the size of the island of Manhattan but only pay a lease on the diameter of the individual 130 turbines. In analogy, they would rent a golf course but only pay for the holes.).

    But, just who are these ‘struggling’ wind industry owners and developers at, for instance, Altamont Pass?

    FPL Group—Florida—$11 billion revenues (2003)

    Altamont Power, Green Ridge Power

    Vestas—Denmark—$3.4 billion revenues (2004 proj.)

    Altamont Power, Green Ridge Power

    AES—Virginia—$8.4 billion revenues (2003)

    SeaWest

    Electricité de France—France (French government-owned electric utility)—$59 billion revenues (2003)

    Enxco

    Powerworks—Idaho—privately held

    Altamont Winds, Pacific Winds

    A choice between birds and global warming?

    While it is understandable that environmental organizations may support wind power as a source of alternative energy to fossil fuel burning power plants; is it at all understandable that they would want and allow irresponsible development and circumvention of the laws that protect our wildlife from harm on behalf of an industry that has already proven itself to be deadly to those same migratory birds, bats and endangered species?

    The American Wind Energy Association, backed by environmental groups like the Sierra Club, would have us believe that the sacrifice of birds and bats is a small price to pay in the face of global warming. But it is not.

    There is no reason to sacrifice these beautiful, innocent and important lives to an alternative source of energy that may be made less deadly through responsible siting and regulation. And that is what they are trying to avoid by their opposition to Rahall’s provisions.

    The empirical evidence from all over the world shows our eagles, birds and bats are being killed in record numbers by wind turbines that have been placed in migratory flyways, important nesting and foraging areas and endangered species habitats.

    A world-wide example can be found with the accompanying pictures to this article.

    Thousands of birds and bats are being killed, maimed and suffering excruciating deaths every year at wind farms around the world and that number is increasing every day as new installations are built.

    Wind power is the fastest growing alternative energy source and along with it one of the fastest growing sources of death to birds and bats. It must be regulated and overseen by the authorities whose job it is to protect our endangered birds and wildlife.

    Is your charitable contribution going to an environmental organization that is using your membership to essentially sign (or ignore by not taking a stand at all) a death warrant for migratory birds, bats and endangered species?

    Please contact any wildlife/environmental organization you support and ask if they have taken a stand on Congressamn Rahall’s legislation Subtitle D of H.R. 2337 Title II Energy Bill now before Congress. And if not, why not?

    Environmental organizations that support irresponsible development and the circumvention of the law over wildlife protection don’t deserve our financial support.

    A list of some national nature, wildlife and environmental protection organizations you may be supporting please also check your local Audubon chapter and wildlife organizations as well to let them know what is going on and ask for their help in upholding the law:

    ANIMAL PROTECTION INSTITUTE

    AMERICAN BIRD CONSERVANCY

    AMERICAN BIRDING ASSOCIATION

    THE AMERICAN ORNITHOLOGISTS’ UNION

    AMERICAN ZOO AND AQUARIUM ASSOCIATION

    BAT CONSERVATION INTERNATIONAL

    BIRD BANDING LABORATORY, THE NORTH AMERICAN BIRD BANDING PROGRAM, USGS

    CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY

    CONSERVATION LAW FOUNDATION

    DEFENDERS OF WILDLIFE

    DUCKS UNLIMITED

    EARTH ISLAND INSTITUTE

    EARTHWATCH

    ENDANGERED SPECIES COALITION

    ENDANGERED SPECIES INTERNATIONAL

    THE FUND FOR ANIMALS

    THE HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE UNITED STATES

    IUCN – THE WORLD CONSERVATION UNION

    INTERNATIONAL WILDLIFE REHABILITATION COUNCIL

    NATIONAL AUDUBON SOCIETY

    NATIONAL FISH & WILDLIFE FOUNDATION

    NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION

    NATIVE AMERICAN FISH & WILDLIFE SOCIETY

    THE NATURE CONSERVANCY

    SEAWORLD & BUSCH GARDENSCONSERVATION FUND  –

    SIERRA CLUB

    WILDLIFE CONSERVATION SOCIETY

    THE WILDLIFE SOCIETY

    WORLD SOCIETY FOR THE PROTECTION OF ANIMALS

    WORLD WILDLIFE FUND

    Click on this SITE for a list of Animal Rights and Animal Protection Organizations in every state and countries from around the world that might help us fight for the birds, endangered species and wildlife. Please contact them to let them know what is going on and that the birds and bats need their help.

    Here is my letter to the nature organizations I support that you might find useful when writing yours. Please feel free to copy and paste or modify to put it into your own words, thoughts and feelings and send to your nature groups:

    Dear________,

    I would like to bring to your attention an important bill, H.R. 2337 Title II Energy Bill, now being debated in Congress. Subtitle D of this bill would direct the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to publish standards for siting, construction and monitoring of wind projects to mitigate the horrible deaths they are causing to thousands of birds, bats, eagles and other endangered species by upholding and enforcing the laws that protect them.

    As a supporting member of your organization, I do not want the blood of eagles on my hands. And while I support alternative energy, I do not condone the sacrifice of our birds, bats, eagles and other endangered wildlife to do it.

    The American Wind Energy Association would have us believe that the sacrifice of birds and bats is a small price to pay in the face of global warming. But it is not.

    There is no reason to sacrifice these beautiful, innocent and important lives to an alternative source of energy that may be made less deadly through responsible siting and regulation.

    I urge you to support Subtitle D of H.R. 2337 Title II Energy Bill as it was originally proposed by Congressman Rahall.

    Sincerely,

    Here is my letter in support of Rahall’s vital amendment to my Senators, Congressmen, Governor amd State Legislators you can copy and paste or modify and send to yours: Their State by State email-addresses can be found HERE

    Dear________,

    As a citizen of this country and the State of __________ I am writing to ask you to give your full support without modification to Subtitle D as originally proposed by Congressman Rahall to H.R. 2337 Title II Energy Bill now being debated in Congress. Subtitle D of this bill would direct the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to publish standards for siting, construction and monitoring of wind projects to mitigate the horrible deaths they are causing to thousands of birds, bats, eagles and other endangered species by upholding and enforcing the laws that protect them.

    While I support alternative energy, I do not condone the sacrifice of our birds, bats, eagles and other endangered wildlife to do it.

    The American Wind Energy Association claims Subtitle D would burden wind power with ‘sweeping new requirements that have never applied to other energy sectors’. Of course, no other energy sector has been responsible for the direct and irrefutable carnage of thousands of dead birds, bats, eagles and other endangered species at the bases of an alarming and growing number of their plants and facilities.

    The wind power industry and some environmental groups would also have us believe that the sacrifice of birds and bats is a small price to pay in the face of global warming. But it is not. And they would have us believe this is an anti-wind energy bill, which it isn’t. It is simply an amendment for responsible wind energy development that would serve to ensure proper siting, planning and mitigation which would allow the wind energy sector to grow responsibly and in accordance with the Endangered Species Act, The Bald and Golden Eagle Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.

    There is no reason to sacrifice these beautiful, innocent and important lives to an alternative source of energy that may be made less deadly through responsible siting and regulation.

    I urge you to support Subtitle D of H.R. 2337 Title II Energy Bill as it was originally proposed by Congressman Rahall.

    Sincerely,

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