I’m with John Donne when it comes to death. “Never send to know for whom the bell tolls,” he wrote in the 17th century, “It tolls for thee.”
That said, the recent death of a certain bat sheds an interesting and almost humorous light on the implicit conflict between two different factions of the liberal canon in America.
This was no ordinary bat, the kind you find in your belfry, attic or helpfully scarfing down mosquitoes in your back yard. No, this was a rare bat, a bat so rare it is one of an endangered species, the Indiana bat. It is protected, unlike members of the human species, by the federal Endangered Species Act.
According to reporter Kathy Mellott’s story in The Democrat-Tribune of Johnstown, Pennsylvania,
Night operation of the windmills in the North Allegheny Windpower Project has been halted following discovery of a dead Indiana bat under one of the turbines, an official with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Monday.
The finding marks only the second location where an Indiana bat has been found dead under a wind turbine. Two Indiana bats were found under turbines in the Mid-west, said Clint Riley, supervisor for Fish and Wildlife’s Pennsylvania field office.
“While finding the dead bat is not good news for any of us, it does show the monitoring works,” Riley said from his State College office.
As one result of the late bat’s demise, no green energy will be generated by the green windmills from dusk till dawn because night time is bat time, as any Transylvanian will attest.
The 35-windmill farm was built by Gamesa Energy USA in Portage, Washington and Cresson townships in Cambria County and extends across the line into Blair County.
It became operational in September 2009 and was purchased by Duke Energy in July 2009, spokesman Greg Efthimiou said.
“We take our commitment to wildlife and the environment very seriously,” he said.
Apparently so. Enough to shut down electricity-producing windmills that are intended to save the environment from carbon emissions. But what if you depend on these carbines for your power? Wildlife trumps human life in the oh-so-green scenario of the followers of Al Gore.
The bat was not discovered by chance. Far from it:
The bat was discovered during volunteer daily monitoring of the farm on Sept. 26, and Duke [the energy company] immediately brought in an Indiana bat expert for confirmation, Efthimiou said.
“We have not operated at night since the confirmation of the bat,” he said of the span beginning before dusk and ending after dawn. The daily monitoring is part of a cooperative agreement between the wind farm owner and the state game commission.
“Mere hours after discovery, we entered into collaborative discussions (with state and federal officials) how to move forward,” he said.
A part of those discussions was to stop nighttime operation of the farm.
Conclusion: ‘Tis a far, far better thing to be a federally-protected bat in western Pennsylvania than a mere tax-paying human being. One gets to fly freely all night, enjoying the pleasures of true freedom, while the other can’t even turn on the porch light. Which would you rather be?