By Jim Wiegand
“…FWS (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service) announced a plan on 5/6/2016 that would allow wind energy companies to legally kill or injure up to 4200 bald eagles annually without penalty. If they can get away with this, the industry would also pocket untold billions while doing it.” —Jim Wiegand
To comment on this proposed rule change visit : https://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FWS-R9-MB-2011-0094-1052 and hit comment
June 9, 2016 (San Diego) -- Since 2008, I have been sharing my knowledge of wind industry impacts with the public. Even though I had been studying raptors and wildlife for decades before, that was the year I first became aware of the industry's bogus research and the terrible fate coming to our eagles. Since then, I have written many articles pointing out how the wind industry has been using fake research to hide the slaughter to eagles and other species. I have also made my opinions very clear about the ongoing collusion that has existed for decades between the wind industry and Interior Department.
For years, the wind industry and USFWS have been claiming to America in the media that eagle fatalities are a relatively uncommon occurrence at wind energy facilities, with the raptor slaughterhouse known as Altamont Pass being a lone aberration. This industry black eye was said to be the result of older small turbines with lattice towers being placed in a migration corridor. The industry has since replaced these turbines declaring the new monopole turbines to be not only much safer turbines for eagles, but they have learned how to site their turbines to avoid fatalities.
"Only a handful of bald eagles have been lost in the history of the industry in the U.S."
All these assertions have been false and now in sharp contrast to previous proclamations, the FWS announced a plan on 5/6/2016 that would allow wind energy companies to legally kill or injure up to 4200 bald eagles annually without penalty. If they can get away with this, the industry would also pocket untold billions while doing it.
But as bad as this is, it gets worse because several newly released reports pertaining to eagle management were created to help sell this new wind industry slaughter of eagles. The obscure Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (DPEIS), which is by far the most important FWS document, has an extremely short comment period that ends 6/6/16. A mere 30 days after being released.
With these reports, the FWS claims "We pooled western U.S., Alaska, and eastern U.S. population estimates to develop a total estimate of golden eagle population size for the U.S. in 2014 for the purpose of computing contemporary harvest limits."
For Bald eagles, these reports conclude: "Nationally, the annual bald eagle take limit with these rates would be approximately 6,300 eagles under the liberal alternative and under 4,200 eagles under the conservative alternative."
For an already rapidly declining population of golden eagles, the "sustainable take under these conditions is close to 2,000.
The FWS fails to point out to the public that they relied upon outside sources for their current eagle population estimates. These sources have major conflicts of interest, having produced false nonscientific turbine mortality studies for the wind industry since the 1990's.
This incredible allowance of 2000 golden eagles annually will insure that most of the golden eagles still surviving in the lower 48 states will disappear because of wind industry developments.
The reality of this dire situation is that we are witnessing a government wildlife agency that was created to protect highly important species, now laying out a red carpet so a devastating industry can kill many more thousands of eagles. The FWS might as well be sending our eagles to Auschwitz
A deceptive history
While the FWS is currently busy selling their eagle slaughter plan to the public I want to point out that they are blatantly ignoring what has taken place over the years at the Denver eagle repository. At this location (2016 numbers) over 33,000 eagle carcasses have been secretly received at this location since 1997. A gruesome number that has been growing each year at a rate of about 2500-3000 or more each year thanks in part to the wind industry. Today the majority of these eagle carcasses are Bald Eagles.
Unknown to the public is that this repository for eagles in Denver has secretly become the Wind industry's Eagle mortuary. But unlike other mortuaries autopsies and information pertaining to the origin of these eagles corpses will never been released.
Those wanting this eagle mortality information will find that the industry is 17 years ahead of you because this information is now protected by the Freedom of information Act. Obtaining any this eagle carcass information as it relates to the wind industry ended late in the Clinton administration when a newly modified version of the freedom of information Act became the law of the land on 12/01/1999.
As shown below, after more than 2 decades of hiding carcasses, telling lies and rigging wind industry mortality research, the turbine peddlers were finally able to seal this terrible information from the public.
Years before the Clinton Era, protections were put into place for this industry, information regarding the National Eagle repository (1974-1997) and the Denver Eagle repository (1997- ) was disclosed by USFWS agents. These agents could speak freely without the fear of retribution. What these agents said is very important because it was provided from an era before wind energy developments.
One thing that is very clear from reading early FWS statements: at one time this agency was very serious about protecting eagles and they knew exactly what was killing America's eagles.
In November of 1997 when California still had most of America's installed wind energy and a healthy population of eagles, the FWS made an alarming disclosure about wind energy. They listed wind turbines as a brand new primary cause of death for the repository's eagles. That year the Repository received just over 1000 bald eagle and eagle carcasses.
In the 1970's, the Repository was receiving about 200-250 eagle carcasses a year.
Today the Repository is receiving thousands of eagles and severed parts of eagles each year. Thanks to the Clinton administration, the autopsy and specific cause of death information for all these eagles will never be released again because it would incriminate this industry.
This repository recycles eagles and eagle parts to American Indians. It would seem that since these eagles being slaughtered in such disgraceful way and coming from such a tainted source, that this source of eagle parts for the American Indian would have a greatly diminished spiritual meaning.
Hidden information about the "safer" Altamont Pass turbines
In 2007 a National Academy of Sciences report to congress pertaining to wind turbine impacts it was noted that "Bird displacement associated with wind-energy development has received little attention in the United States. This statement was true then and it is even truer today.
For example it was also disclosed in this 2007 congressional report that in 2005 there were 58 nesting eagle territories that were occupied within in 30 km (19miles) of the Altamont Wind resource Area. This information is 11 years old and even in 2012 there was proof available that these 58 occupied eagle territories no longer existed. Golden eagle territory abandonment that has taken place around this wind farm it is extremely relevant because this impact coincides with the installation of the industry's new turbines falsely declared safer for eagles.
Today in the Altamont Region, I would be shocked if even a third of these originally reported 58 active golden eagle territories occupied by two adults remain.
But we will never know because in this Altamont region, there has been a complete blackout pertaining the golden eagle nesting activity and nesting failures that have occurred from wind turbines killing adult eagles. I know this impact occurs from talking with an eyewitness and from reading the vague references in wind industry studies to eagle nests described as unsuccessful, unoccupied or non-active found in industry studies. This raptor displacement takes place from the older small turbines as well as the newer "declared safer" turbines. But research regarding these impacts has been avoided for decades across America. This deception has taken place for the same reasons the public knows nothing about the thousands of eagle carcasses received by the Denver Eagle Repository.
For years, the media, the wind industry and FWS have been claiming that the Altamont region has one of the highest, if not the highest known concentration of golden eagles in the world. If the FWS would ever look at this population using scientific principles instead of using fake data from contaminated sources for eagle harvest reports, they would find most of these eagles have disappeared.
Instead, the public is being fed statements likes this one about golden eagle populations: "Golden eagle abundance in California is unknown." I will add that this information would not be hard to find out and studies would not even be needed if the FWS would just compare the golden eagle carcasses shipped from CA to the Denver Repository between the years 1997-2015.
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