In August 2011, the Department announced it was charging seven oil companies operating in North Dakota with violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act for killing a total of — brace yourself — 28 birds. Furthermore, none of the bird species were uncommon or declining, as opposed to the bald and golden eagles, as well as many of the other species of hawks and owls that are regularly killed by wind turbines. DOJ dismissed charges against one company, and fortunately sanity prevailed for the other six. The judge dismissed the charges against the three that went to court and rejected plea agreements made by the other three.
Over the past several decades the Justice Department “has prosecuted hundreds of cases” against companies in the gas, oil, and electrical generation industries, according to Robert Bryce of the Manhattan Institute. However, the Department, under both Democratic and Republican administrations (who says bipartisanship is dead?), has never indicted a wind farm company for killing birds. So the message from the federal government is clear. If you’re generating “green” energy, you get a green light to kill as many eagles and other birds as you want. But if you’re producing carbon-based energy and happen to kill a few birds accidentally, then the feds will come down on you with an iron fist.
Across America, many bird species are coming under increasing pressure from a wide variety of threats. Uncommon species, like the bald eagle, and declining species, including those protected under the federal Endangered Species Act, will be especially hard hit by the growing number of wind farms. While our national bird and other species need our respect and help, the government agency that is supposed to protect them is abetting their slaughter