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US: Obama Administration refuses to turn over info on bird deaths at wind facilities

Matthew Daly — Associated Press — March 27, 2014

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration is refusing to turn over documents related to enforcement of environmental laws at wind farms where dozens of eagles and other protected birds have been killed, House Republicans charged Wednesday.

Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., said the Fish and Wildlife Service has engaged in a “deliberate slow rolling of documents and answers” for nearly a year. Hastings is chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, which has been seeking to compel the wildlife agency to turn over internal documents related to its enforcement of laws protecting eagles and other birds.

An Associated Press investigation last year revealed that the administration was not prosecuting wind energy companies for killing eagles and other protected birds.

Only one wind energy company has been prosecuted for killing eagles and other birds in violation of federal law. Duke Energy pleaded guilty in November to killing eagles and other birds at two Wyoming wind farms and will pay $1 million.

The government estimates that at least 85 eagles are killed each year by wind turbines.

The wildlife agency “dragged its feet for six months” before providing a two-page memo written the year before, Hastings said, and many of the documents that have been turned over are incomplete or have been largely blacked out.

“This is not compliance. This is deliberate slow rolling of documents and answers, and we’ve had enough,” Hastings said.  Continue reading here….. (you may have to answer a couple of questions to access the article)


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4 Comments on “US: Obama Administration refuses to turn over info on bird deaths at wind facilities”

  1. sandcanyongal March 28, 2014 at 11:57 pm #

    I have direct input into the non funding that is promised for programs.

    1. Kern County owes the California Condor Recovery program millions of dollars. I found the numbers in the approved environmental impact reports on Kern County’s website and another source, ceqamap.com. The total amount due to the program in total is $2,898,531.00.

    2. No one knows what happened to the money. The amount of nearly $3 million is earmarked to be used specifically for the condor program and the terms are clearly spelled out on paper.

    The California Condor Coordinator, John McCammon of California, Fish and Wildlife was head of fish and wildlife until a few years ago. He knows what’s going on at a government level. I called him initially in a chain of calls regarding 2 California condors found dead in dip tanks last October 2013 (water tanks used by helicopters for firefighting in wildlands.)

    During the first conversation I mentioned to him that the program should be getting millions for their program. He said there was $376,000 in the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum account. I went thru every wind energy eir listed by Kern County, who is the “Lead Agency” in charge of championing renewable energy approvals. During our second conversation he said there was a total of $763,000 in the account. He must have checked the account. I think the money may be in the account because, as he said, money due to the government goes into the Federal treasury and the program doesn’t get any money if sent to them.

    3. It was also indicated that the funding money isn’t always written into the Kern County permits. This is odd because permitting is predicated on paying the money and also having active radar in place before “energizing” the windmills, in some of the eirs. Here is an example:

    MM 4.4-14 Prior to issuance of a grading or building permit or any construction activities, whichever comes first, the project proponent shall provide funding for conservation measures such as radio telemetry, condor feeding programs, or other such measures as deemed appropriate shall be provided to the California Condor Recovery Program. Funding shall be calculated at six (6) units per one hundred (100) turbines installed as part of the project. Prior to the issuance of any building or grading permits for the first (1st) turbine, the project proponent shall fund six telemetry units in the amount of $188,100 ($4,150 per unit plus an “endowment” of $163,200 to be used for tracking data over an eight-year period). Prior to the issuance of any building or grading permits for the one-hundred-and-first (101st) turbine, the project proponent shall fund six additional telemetry units in the amount of $188,100 ($4,150 per unit plus an endowment of $163,200 to be used for tracking data over an eight year period). The total funding to be provided shall not exceed $376,200.

    MM 4.4-15 Prior to energizing, the project proponent, in consultation with the Kern County Planning and Community Development Department shall submit for review and approval a Condor Monitoring and Avoidance Plan utilizing a reliable Condor Monitoring System (CMS) that will detect VHF-tagged condors. The purpose of this plan is to outline the procedures and compliance steps undertaken by the project proponent to implement focused curtailment of proposed wind turbine generators when a California Condor is detected with a range of up to, but not exceeding 16 miles away.

    The number of telemetry units and endowment amounts are based on a per 100 turbine number to be installed in the majority of environmental impact reports. I wouldn’t trust the numbers in the eirs though. Wind turbines are crammed in as tightly as possible and the total number often changes based on height and propeller sweep size.

  2. sandcanyongal March 29, 2014 at 2:54 am #

    In retrospect, the government agencies have their hands tied and told not to make waves. They may accept the slaughtering of bird and bats. If you were to look closely at these agencies like FWS they only support ranchers, recreation and farmers. They basically manage numbers of animals, kill off sick animals because there’s no funding for antibiotics to cure them.

  3. sandcanyongal March 31, 2014 at 2:58 pm #

    Of course not. This administration must have individual investments in this. They also promised GE to keep it afloat when Enron fell. We really need to stop the ecocide. And to think back at the promises this lying sack of garbage of a President promised the American people. He is the last black President for a good reason. He’s no Martin Luther King – more like a devil.

  4. Tony Cadwalader May 12, 2014 at 4:11 pm #

    Reblogged this on Daily Energy Dump.

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