Liberalism is for the Birds . . .
Except When It Doesn’t Suit Their Purpose
By: George Noga – May 8, 2014
Liberals (and their sycophant media) go ga-ga over birds whenever it suits their purpose. During the BP oil spill we were saturated with images of a pelican dripping with oil, only later to learn the photo had nothing to do with BP. One year after the BP spill, credible estimates of bird deaths varied from a low of 1,200 to a high of 6,000; the Audubon Society estimate was 2,300. Nevertheless, liberals used the birds to limit or to stop new offshore drilling. Similarly, a 2013 oil pipeline rupture in Arkansas was used by activists as a cause celebre to stop new pipelines even though the verified toll was only a handful of ducks. Birds are being used as a major argument for stopping the Keystone XL Pipeline. In fact, saving birds is an argument progressives use to oppose every fossil fuel project from drilling to pipelines to fracking.
Today, green activists are invoking the Endangered Species Act to list the lesser prairie chicken and sage grouse as threatened species. These birds are found in 11 western states where the federal government owns most of the land – 48% of California, 62% of Idaho and 82% of Nevada. Hold your breath: activists are trying to list another 757 species between now and 2018. Never mind the 757 other species; the prairie chicken and sage grouse alone are enough to stop drilling on federal land. The restrictions are so severe, it would also effectively stop drilling on private land. To be clear about this, liberals could use the prairie chicken and sage grouse to stop all drilling in 11 western states.
The Mathematics of the US Bird Population
This post uses many numbers about bird deaths; therefore, some perspective about bird population would be helpful. Every year in the USA there are 10 billion new birds hatched. Fewer than 1,000 birds are killed each year as a result of fossil fuel activities, whereas 500,000 are killed in wind turbines including bald eagles, and golden eagles. Thus, wind energy kills 50,000% more birds than fossil fuel. Collisions with windows kill about 500 million birds (midpoint estimate) – 100,000 in New York City alone. Cats kill another 500 million annually. Cars, power lines and habitat loss kill another 1.5 billion or so. Every day in the USA nearly 15 million birds meet their fate. The best way to protect birds would be to ban cats. In any event, these numbers provide perspective; fossil fuels kill .0000001% of birds versus cats’ 5.0%.
Liberal Hypocrisy About Birds
Okay, so liberals pretend to be birds’ best friend when it suits their purpose; what about when it doesn’t fit their agenda? I already pointed out how wind turbines kill 50,000% more birds than fossil fuels. Let’s expose several other liberal hypocrisies about birds.
The $2+ billion Ivanpah solar project recently opened in the California desert; its 350,000 mirrors span 5 square miles. It was financed by federal tax credits and cost 400% more than a gas fired plant; the electricity it produces costs twice as much. The Ivanpah project is scorching birds that fly overhead with its 1,000 degree heat. The massive death toll has included peregrine falcons and great hawks. So far, nary a peep from environmentalists.
- The wind industry enjoys de facto permission to violate the Migratory Bird Treaty (protecting 1,000 species) and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. The Interior Department has brought one token enforcement action against wind energy but it aggressively pursued criminal cases against the oil and gas industry in North Dakota for killing a single bird – a Say’s Phoebe. At California’s Altamonte wind project 70 golden eagles are killed annually.
- The Interior Department granted wind farms 30-year take permits to kill eagles. The government expects to receive 15-20 applications for the new eagle kill permits. Wind and solar farms and hydroelectric facilities often destroy the ecosystem but they get a pass – essentially because they are politically correct. Get this: the liberal argument is that climate change ultimately will kill even more eagles; therefore, we have to kill eagles now in order to save them.
- Since Obama took office 17 major solar projects have been approved on public land and received expedited approval. Not one liberal or environmental group protested this rush to build, even though these groups moved heaven and earth to protect snail darters, delta smelts and spotted owls. However, these same groups are willing to sacrifice bighorn sheep, desert tortoises and other critters on the altar of the green energy gods.
Wind energy soaks up an obscene amount of tax dollars. It raises the cost of energy – 40% since 2003, rips apart rural communities, despoils views, kills eagles and falcons and creates noise for miles. It pollutes pristine lakes in Mongolia (where neodymium is mined and refined) with toxic radioactive tailings. The average wind turbine requires a ton of neodymium. Despite all this, wind energy accounts for less than one half percent of all energy.
“We have to kill the eagles in order to save them.”
Above all, this documents the utter bankruptcy and depravity of liberalism. Liberals shed crocodile tears for birds on cue but are ready to throw hundreds of eagles each year into the wind turbines and scorch them to death while flying over solar farms all because they deem it politically correct. Liberals lie about birds because liberalism is all based on lies.