The following letter was published in the August 28 edition of the Wall Street Journal letters section.
No industry takes wildlife impacts more seriously than the wind industry
Regarding Robert Bryce’s “Obama’s Wind-Energy Lobby Gets Blown Away” (op-ed, Aug. 19): Mr. Bryce distorts the facts about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s eagle permit program. The permit program—available to all sources of eagle mortality, not just the wind industry—is at heart a conservation program, which provides limited legal certainty to otherwise lawful activities that may take an eagle, but only after first taking steps to avoid and reduce potential impacts and then fully offsetting any remaining impacts associated with the loss of an individual bird. The 30-year permit duration, consistent with other wildlife laws, would provide long-term certainty that all permittees desire.
No industry takes wildlife impacts more seriously than the wind industry. But eagle fatalities from wind-power generation are relatively uncommon. Golden eagles losses at modern wind facilities represent less than 3% of all reported sources of human-caused fatalities, and only a few bald eagles have been lost in collisions in the history of the industry.
It is true the Clean Power Plan would rely on wind power to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That’s good news for consumers, as recent Energy Information Administration analysis shows that wind is the most cost-effective compliance option. This will benefit our society and all forms of wildlife otherwise impacted by the more polluting forms of energy that wind power will replace.
Studies have shown that wind power has the lowest life-cycle impacts of any utility-scale electricity generation, and the wind industry proudly operates under a longstanding legacy of care for all wildlife, including eagles.
American Wind Energy Association