WATERS: Ideologues’ selective concerns are for the birds

Posted by on May 16, 2015
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Jim Waters head

Pollution containing large amounts of ideologically driven hypocrisy and political correctness seeps from unbalanced environmental extremists’ efforts to ensure that Americans don’t forget the catastrophe of the largest accidental oil spill in the nation’s history that occurred five years ago.

We should remember and then some.

Let’s do all that’s humanly possible to prevent a repeat of the sad destruction caused in the Gulf of Mexico by the explosion and ensuing seepage of 5 million barrels of crude oil into one of the world’s most productive ecosystems.

It was a helpless feeling watching those heavily oiled birds being pulled from water as far away as 40 miles from shore while being limited to helplessly hoping that rescuers could work miracles.

Most didn’t survive.

Estimates place the number of birds that died because of the spill at 800,000 with concerns that the Pelican population in the Gulf decreased 12 percent.

Yet while activists ardently supported the severe punishments heaped upon BP for its negligence (no penalty could be severe enough for these corporatist oil producers), they offer deafening silence concerning the slaughter of 2.9 million birds caused by wind turbines nationwide since Gulf catastrophe in 2010.

Such developments are inconvenient for agenda-driven ideologues who will be satisfied only when we quit drilling, mining or using another drop, gallon or ton of fossil-fuel energy.

The devil on the left shoulder says that extremists used the widely watched oil-drenched Gulf catastrophe to advance an Orwellian energy policy rocketing America into a post-coal age that fills the landscape with those huge ugly wind turbines or heavily subsidized solar panels while sending us back to a lifestyle dominated by horse carriages and candle burning.

However, the angel perched on my right says you won’t see those hugely obtrusive wind-turbine farms in Kentucky anytime soon since it takes at least 9 miles per hour to make wind a viable power source; the commonwealth’s highest winds found near the Fayette, Scott and Bourbon county lines average only 6.5 miles per hour, according to the state energy cabinet.

Yet I didn’t see any zealots, who claim to really care about these endangered birds, protesting beneath huge wind farms that I traveled through on a recent trek through northern Indiana.

Could it be that these zealots, many of whom also advocate for shutting down Kentucky’s entire coal industry, care more about advancing their anti-fossil fuel, energy controlling ideology than they do about saving birds or people?

They claim their top priority in Kentucky is ensuring a safe environment and putting citizens’ needs first. But how can those assertions be considered credible considering their stated objective of bankrupting the entire coal industry?

Researchers warn that meeting the Department of Energy’s goal of having 20 percent of the nation’s electricity generated from wind by 2030 would result in killing 1.4 million birds annually.

birds-and-turbines1

Pembina Institute

A natural query is: Why don’t birds being slaughtered by these blades just avoid them?

Birds were created to look down.

“When hawks, falcons and eagles are flying, they’re usually looking down at the ground for prey, not glancing up to watch for a knifelike blade whipping down on them from above,” LiveScience’s Marc Lallanilla writes.

Plus, the speed of those blades are deceptive.

“Though it can appear as though they’re turning at a slow, almost relaxed pace, wind-turbine blades actually move very rapidly,” Lallanilla writes. “The outer tips of some turbines’ blades can reach speeds of 179 mph (288 kilometers per hour) and can easily slice off an eagle’s wing.”

So why aren’t the extremists campaigning to shut down these wind farms? I thought they really cared about the birds.

They’re too busy worshiping at the feet of the gods of the First Temple of Renewable Energy – which itself is for the birds, if you ask me.

Jim Waters is president of the Bluegrass Institute, Kentucky’s free-market think tank. Reach him at jwaters@freedomkentucky.com. Read previously published columns at www.bipps.org.


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Jim Waters

Jim Waters

President at Bluegrass Institute
Jim Waters is President of the Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, Kentucky’s first and only free market think tank. Jim uses his significant media experience as a reporter, editor and broadcaster at newspapers and radio stations in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio to grow the institute’s influence in Frankfort and its impact statewide. Jim is often quoted in the state’s major media sources on public policy issues and writes the Bluegrass Beacon, a weekly newspaper column that appears in publications statewide.