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Editorial: Windmills of death

There’s a killer on the loose. Known for murdering in cold blood with a sharp blade, the government has nevertheless turned a blind eye to the killer’s trail of death and destruction. The lucky ones who survive are maimed and left to die. The American taxpayer is forced to subsidize the slaughter.

We’re not taking here about the Tsarnaev brothers and their welfare-fueled electronic benefit cards, or about ravenous and evil blackbirds that feed on robins and their helpless young. Hundreds of America’s greatest birds, many of them protected as endangered species, fall lifeless to the ground after slamming into cruel windmill blades powered by taxpayer dollars.

The Wildlife Society Bulletin estimates the death toll at more than a half-million birds in the United States every year, including falcons, hawks and eagles. None of those responsible for the carnage has been held to account.

Neither the Obama administration nor the George W. Bush administration have prosecuted a single case against Big Wind. Providers of conventional energy sources, on the other hand, have had the book thrown at them. Over the past few years, the Justice Department extracted a $600,000 settlement and $3 million in compliance costs from Exxon-Mobil after 85 birds supposedly died from “exposure to hydrocarbons.” The company agreed to install devices to scare birds away from their equipment in the future. In December, SM Energy Co. was drilled for $300,000 after the firm’s oil reserve pits were found not to be “bird safe.” PacifiCorp was forced to spend more than $10 million in fines and compliance costs after it was summoned to court over the death of 200 eagles said to have been zapped by the company’s power lines in Wyoming.

Like the Internal Revenue Service’s discriminatory treatment of the Tea Party, the Obama administration does not hold everyone equal before the law. The administration’s favorite green energy companies get a pass, and the firms that make affordable energy are mercilessly prosecuted.

Unlike the oil industry, wind power wouldn’t exist if there were no taxpayer subsidies. The Government Accountability Office counted 39 new benefits for windmill operators on Mr. Obama’s watch, beginning with a tax credit covering up to 30 percent of capital investment in new windmill projects, part of the 2009 stimulus. The biggest giveaway is the production tax credit, worth a cool $12.1 billion.

This unnecessary federal spending buys the death of majestic birds of prey. There’s hardly a peep of outrage from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The Audubon Society callously sacrifices the lives of birds just to chill the planet. “On balance, Audubon strongly supports wind power as a clean alternative-energy source that reduces the threat of global warming,” the society’s former president, John Flicker, wrote in the group’s magazine.

It’s a far, far better thing not to kill two birds with one stone, merely by dropping government subsidies for this hopelessly inefficient source of power. The lives of thousands of our countless feathered friends hang in the balance.