Cape Gazette
http://capegazette.villagesoup.com/p/1099794

Soar like an eagle - not into a turbine

By Connie Hliva | Jan 12, 2014

I was fascinated when I saw a recent Cape Gazette photograph by Kevin Fleming of an American Bald Eagle in flight clenching in his talons a fish that the eagle must have just caught minutes before the photo was taken. I admire and respect Kevin Fleming’s talent as an accomplished award-winning photographer, but my first thoughts were of the majesty and beauty of his subject, the national bird symbol of the United States of America.

In the 1970s, the use of DDT and the actions of hunters affected the population of the American Bald Eagle and resulted in the bald and golden eagles being put on the list of endangered species. Conservation efforts helped bring the Bald Eagle back in 2007, and the eagle was removed from the list but is still protected by two federal laws. Experts monitoring 75 Bald Eagle nests across the state of Delaware say they appear to be in very healthy shape. Unfortunately, this is not true in every state.

A large wind turbine company that operates on acres of land in Wyoming recently paid a fine of $1 million for causing the deaths of thousands of birds, including American Bald Eagles.

After the owners complained about the fines, the Obama Administration had the Interior Department change the guidelines for protection of birds. Effective Dec. 4, 2013, some companies will be allowed to injure and kill bald and golden eagles for up to 30 years without penalty. This plan will provide legal protection for the life span of wind farms. If the eagle population is being affected, the permits for the farms will be reviewed every five years by the Interior Department. The government refuses to release the current number of birds killed.

Hundreds of wind turbines on large farms across our country are as tall as a 30-story building with spinning rotors as wide as a passenger jet’s wing span and reach up to 170 mph at the tips, creating tornado-like vortexes. Is this good for our environment, humans and animals, including birds? Do birds have to be identified as endangered in order for people to care? The Peregrine Falcon, goshawks, harriers, osprey and sea eagles are also being killed by wind turbines. Doesn’t nature need balance?

Environmentalists want to win the two sides of the discussion: provide “friendly” new power sources and “save” the environment. Death by wind turbine is not friendly. It is also an insult to the American people who care enough to help preserve our wild life and environment. Unless action is taken to save these birds, the American Bald Eagle and other birds will disappear.

Connie Hliva
Rehoboth Beach

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