(NaturalNews) According to the federal government, 30-year "kill permits" are required to finance wind farms, or large groups of turbines designed to capture wind energy.
Despite the government's crackdown on citizens violating endangered species laws, the Obama administration has granted wind farm operators a 30-year permit to kill federally protected animals.
"The new renewable energy policy gives wind farm operators 30-year permits - up from the current 5 years - to kill a specific number of protected species without threat of prosecution," reportedFox News.
An estimated 1.4 million birds and bats are killed annually due to large turbines, including more than 3,000 golden eagles; however, no cases have been prosecuted.
The turbine blades turn "deceptively fast, up to 180 miles an hour," Fox News states.
Secondly, birds like "raptors especially like to follow the currents in windy areas looking for field mice and rabbits below."
Wind plants are widely used for sources of green energy. The power capacity for turbines range from 700 KW to 1.8 MW and are often grouped together in order to extract as much energy as possible from available wind resources. Ireland's Raheenleagh Wind Farm is the largest in the world, with 200 operating turbines producing 520 MW, and costing nearly $600 million to build.
Is it really green if it involves killing?
Some experts argue that the energy isn't "green" if it means killing thousands of birds.
"For such a non-polluting energy source, wind has become surprisingly divisive within the environmental community," reportedAudubon magazine.
Industry experts say green energy derived from wind power and protection for species can both be achieved by developing "bird- and bat-smart wind projects" in which the blades operate at slower speeds and are positioned in places with flatter land, offering slower, more consistent winds.
Detecting environmentally sensitive areas is difficult, because the task has been given to developers who often rely on faulty data projections provided by consulting firms employed by the builders.
"Those consultants, in turn, use the data, which could be accurate, skewed, or bogus, to write [environmental] assessments and design wildlife-protection plans," stated Audubon.
The recently implemented extended kill policy approved by the Obama administration is completely hypocritical in that green energy is essentially being given a free pass, while Americans who have violated endangered species laws have been treated harshly in the past.
Marine biologist Nancy Black was fined $12,000 and probated for three years after feeding whales in the Monterey Bay. Another case included Ernesto Pulido, a 26-year old tree trimmer cited for violating a 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act after removing a nest of herons under the request of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). USPS reportedly asked the contractor to "rid their parking lot in Oakland, Calif. of the birds and the droppings they left behind."
After discovering several adult herons circling an area in which five baby herons were hiding underneath a postal truck, Pulido rescued and then voluntarily funded rehabilitation efforts for the birds.
But it still wasn't enough.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife threatened to prosecute Pulido but ended up dropping the charges earlier this month.
Bob Johns of the American Bird Conservancy says the government is ignoring conservation laws, in turn operating on a double standard. "The oil and gas industry for example, they have to abide by these laws," said Johns. "They're not killing bald and golden eagles. And if they are, they're going to be prosecuted for it."
Wind farms justify the killings, arguing that their businesses will fail if subjected to fines and federal prosecution, acknowledging that some fatalities are inevitable. The wind energy industry promises to dedicate resources toward redesigning turbine groups in locations expected to have a lesser impact on bird and bat species.
A windy future
Wind energy is becoming increasingly more important as researchers warn of the dangers associated with climate change, urging the public to change the way that energy is obtained and produced.
According to Fox News, "the wind accounts for roughly 3 percent of the nation's energy output from 500 wind farms operating 35,000 turbines."
President Obama hopes to increase that to 20 percent by 2030, a move which experts say could "decimate bird populations."