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Wind energy company sues to hide bird fatality data from the media


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(NaturalNews) Green energy advocates would like for us to believe that wind turbines are a clean and safe way to generate electricity, but it's not entirely true. Wind farms are killing birds by the thousands, and the companies who own and operate them are trying to keep that fact a secret.

The Associated Press (AP) has been conducting an investigation regarding bird and eagle deaths caused by wind turbines. There have been many confirmed cases of eagles being killed by the turbines -- including bald eagles, our nation's symbol and an endangered species.

In 2013, the AP filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act to gain access to the Interior Department's statistics on bird and eagle deaths, but Pacificorp of Portland, Oregon, which operates more than a dozen wind farms in three states, has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to block the release of the figures.

Wind turbines reportedly responsible for Bald Eagle deaths in six states

The AP investigation has already documented scores of eagle deaths in six states -- with more than four dozen having occurred in Wyoming alone since 2009. The Obama Administration had agreed to provide the statistics to the AP, but Pacificorp is now seeking an injunction in Utah's US District Court to stop the government from doing so, claiming that the release of the numbers of bird deaths would cause the company "irreparable harm."

In October, the government told Pacificorp and several other wind power industry companies that it intended to hand over at least some of the information to the AP, saying that the companies' objections were "insufficiently convincing."

On October 17, Pacificorp filed the lawsuit, claiming that the figures should not be released, partly because they said the information was voluntarily submitted and confidential, and should not be subject to the government's open records law.

Pacificorp also claimed that withholding the figures is in the public's interest, though it would seem unclear exactly how that is the case. If these bird and eagle deaths are insignificant, why does the industry want to keep them a secret?

Estimates indicate wind turbines are only small fraction of bird deaths due to man-made causes

According to some estimates, more than half a million birds are killed by wind turbines each year in the US. To be fair, many more birds die yearly due to other man-made causes, including fossil fuel power plants which kill as many as 14 million birds per year. Communication towers (such as cellular and radio) may kill up to 50 million birds per year, so it's important to keep the wind turbine bird deaths in perspective.

However, we should have access to the facts -- if wind power companies want to continue their activities, the public has a right to know the truth. As far as this writer is concerned, transparency is vital to weighing all the options available and deciding which methods of energy production are viable.

It makes perfect sense, for a number of reasons, to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels for energy production, but we need to be able to make these assessments based on having all of the relevant information presented to us.

Wind power may indeed be a viable solution to providing at least part of our energy needs, but to claim that it has no environmental impact is misleading. Aside from the thousands of annual bird deaths, there are other concerns to be weighed regarding wind farms, such as overall efficiency and the fact that the manufacturing of the turbines also has a significant impact on the environment

Some of the materials used in manufacturing wind turbine components are highly toxic, for example, and have created serious pollution problems in the areas where they are produced. And although this usually occurs in other countries such as China, where many of these materials are manufactured, the environmental impact should not be ignored.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.abcnews4.com

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com

http://www.nationalreview.com

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