Cronies vs. Eagles? No Contest!
Normally, if you kill a bald eagle you are in big trouble. You can be fined up to $5,000 and imprisoned for up to a year for killing a single eagle. That is no idle threat, either: individuals have been prosecuted and even imprisoned for killing bald eagles.
Of course, it’s different if you are a government crony, like the owner of a wind farm. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed new permits that authorize renewable-energy companies to kill or capture protected eagles for the next 30 years. Michael McGrady writes in Environment and Climate News:
The rule would provide to renewable-energy companies protection from criminal or civil prosecution or penalties for incidental deaths of protected bald and golden eagles that occur as a result of the normal operations of wind and solar farms.
You might wonder how many eagles wind and solar energy facilities could possibly kill. The answer is: quite a lot.
In an article published in the Citizens Voice, titled “It’s Open Season on Bald Eagles,” Pennsylvania resident Bob Quarteroni says the “ugly” plan would allow wind farms to kill up to 4,200 bald eagles each year and that it should be avoided. … “Why are they doing this? To help the wind turbine industry. What a surprise,” wrote Quarteroni.
That is the benefit of being a crony. Michael Hutchins, national coordinator of the Bird Smart Wind Energy Program, writes:
I don’t think all industries are being treated equally here. If you are going to regulate, you need to regulate equally.
There is a reason why “green” energy companies are so lavish with campaign contributions. What they buy is unequal treatment, or, put another way, cronyism.