Spinnin' Blades, Got To Go 'Round

Posted on May 11, 2012 by


The brain trust at the California Department of Fish and Game, having solved all other problems, moved in and confiscated a stuffed wolverine and red-tailed hawk from a bar, some fifty years after they’d been put on display. Zero tolerance is a wonderful replacement for common sense, and in that bastion of liberalism that is California, it is clear that you can have any kind of sense you want – as long as it isn’t common.

Game Warden Patrick Foy confirmed to FoxNews.com that both animals were on a list of rare, protected species that are illegal for individuals to possess — living or dead — in California.

“That’s obviously something we’re going to respond to,” Foy said. “The wolverine is the single-most endangered species in the state of California.”

You see, these are rare, protected species. Just like bald eagles, golden eagles, and assorted other raptors. They may have been dead for over fifty years, but that doesn’t matter. It’s the principle of the thing – which makes it all the more interesting that the feds are planning to expand permits for the killing of raptors – by wind farms.

You read that right: the government will confiscate a couple of animals that were killed and mounted half a century ago, because by today’s rules, you can’t have them. However, they’re willing to make exceptions for the Cuisinarts™ of the skies, whose spinning blades slaughter hundreds of “rare and protected” raptors every year.

The USFWS explains at FederalRegister.gov:

“We have reviewed applications from proponents of renewable energy projects, such as wind and solar power facilities, for programmatic permits to authorize eagle take that may result from both the construction and ongoing operations of renewable energy projects. During our review, it became evident that the 5-year term limit imposed by the 2009 regulations (see 50 CFR 22.26(h)) needed to be extended to better correspond to the timeframe of renewable energy projects.”

The irony here is amazing: in addition to the death toll on raptors, the Cuisinarts™ kill thousands of insectivorous and pollinating bats each year, though not by contact with the blades. The spinning blades produce sudden drops in air pressure, causing the bats’ lungs to explode. That the insectivorous variety consumes its weight in mosquitoes and other insects each night, while the pollinators are vital to agriculture, is of no apparent concern because wind farms are “renewable energy” sources.

“Renewable”. “Green”. Really? Wind farms generate roughly 2% of energy in America. Here in the Pacific Northwest, the Bonneville Power Administration, which generates “non-renewable” hydropower (according to the state of Oregon, hydro isn’t classed as a renewable energy source) is obliged to pay wind-farm operators to stop producing power during periods of high water flow. In other areas, natural gas or coal-fired power plants must remain active because when there’s too much (or too little) wind, the farms can’t produce power, so coal/ gas plants have to be able to compensate.

Wind turbines frequently draw electricity from the grid, to keep blades turning when the wind is not blowing, reduce strain on turbine gears, and prevent icing during periods of winter calm.

And wind farms take a lot of resources to build and maintain: aside from the enormous quantities of concrete, steel, copper, fiberglass and other raw materials needed to build and install them, they require petrochemical lubricants to keep the blades spinning. In brief, they’re neither “green” nor “renewable” – worse, they’re not even reliable.

Nor are solar farms any better – they destroy miles of habitat when installed, manufacturing the panels involve highly toxic chemicals (which Solyndra simply walked away from, following their bankruptcy), and disposal of the panels is highly problematic due to the hazardous materials contained. Lifespan of the panels, if properly maintained, is about 25 years.

It’s time to stop subsidizing these turkeys.

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