January 28, 2014 - Opinion: Eagles, Wind Turbines and Dream-Catchers

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Bald Eagles Cartoon
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 - In August of 1995, Peg Bargon of Monticello, IL, pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of violating the Lacey Act and the Bald Eagle Protection Act. Her crime was that she picked up a couple of eagle feathers, wove them into a native American style dream-catcher and presented the dream-catcher to then first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. Hilary turned her over to the feds. Bargon was subsequently sentenced to two years of probation and fined $1,200. She had not killed any eagles to obtain the feathers, but even just possession of such a feather is punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of as much as $56,000. Possession with intent to sell the feathers could bring up to a year in federal prison and a fine of up to $100,000. Bargon was pardoned by President Clinton during the final hours of his presidency.
 

More recently, in November of 2012, Timothy Clinton-Paul Oleniczak, a part-American Indian man from Michigan was sentenced to probation, community service and a $2,500 fine for illegally selling eagle feathers. He said the feathers had been given to him over the years and were part of his culture. Authorities said the feathers were sold to undercover officials. Didn’t we used to call that ‘entrapment’?
 

There’s a message for us here!
If you are a lowly citizen and pick up a discarded feather from any protected bird – eagle, cardinal, blue-jay or any songbird – and display it on your hatband for instance, you are subject to Federal fines and imprisonment.

However:
  I
f you are the owners of an Obama-endorsed green-energy wind-turbine farm you can now kill all the eagles you want for the next 30 years without fear of fines or reprisals.

Read on!
 
Under pressure from the wind-power industry, the Obama administration recently said it will allow companies to kill or injure eagles without the fear of prosecution for up to three decades. The new federal rule is designed to address environmental consequences that stand in the way of the nation’s wind-energy rush: the dozens of bald and golden eagles being killed each year by the giant, spinning blades of wind turbines.

Wind farms are clusters of turbines as tall as 30-story buildings, with spinning rotors as wide as a passenger jet’s wingspan. Though the blades appear to move slowly, they can reach speeds of up to 170 mph at the tips, creating tornado-like vortexes. Flying eagles behave somewhat like drivers texting on cellphones; they don’t look up. As they scan below for food, they don’t notice the blades until it is too late. It is probable that other protected species of birds are also executed by the turbines.
 
Estimates of the number of eagle deaths range from dozens to hundreds or more. Reporting is voluntary and Interior Department refuses to release the information signaling that, as part of Obama’s transparent administration, the true scope of the eagle deaths is being kept secret.

Learn more here
and Here

A BLM environmental impact statement released last year estimates the proposed 1,000-turbine Chokecherry/Sierra Madre wind farm could kill between 46 and 64 eagles each year. The Power Company of Wyoming plans to offset the number of eagles killed by the spinning blades by reducing deaths elsewhere. One example is retrofitting older power poles that risk electrocuting perching and nesting eagles to make them safer for the birds.
 
At a minimum, wind farms in 10 states have killed at least 85 eagles since 1997, with most deaths occurring between 2008 and 2012, as the industry was greatly expanding. This figure is likely to be "substantially" underestimated, since companies report eagle deaths voluntarily and only a fraction of those included in their total were discovered during searches for dead birds by wind-energy companies. The study also excluded the deadliest place in the country for eagles, a cluster of wind farms in a northern California area known as Altamont Pass. Wind farms built there decades ago kill more than 60 per year.

Learn more here

And where is PETA in all this. It would seem that they would be concerned about the wanton slaughter of America’s symbol. Instead, they focus on Governor Chris Christie killing a spider on a table in a room full of 4th graders citing Christie’s disregard for the spider’s life and liberty. Go figure!


Finally, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) -the supreme champion of animal rights in this country - is also strangely quiet about this slaughter. Probably, their attention is directed toward finances and how to spend the money they bilk from pet owners with their piteous TV ads involving dogs and cat. HSUS grants to shelters consistently make up 1 percent or less of its budget. 
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