Over at Tucker Carlson's Right Wing rag The Daily Caller they are celebrating as 102 conservative groups target wind power subsidies. These groups oppose further extensions of the Wind Production Tax Credit, soon to face another renewal battle in Congress:
“The wind industry has very little to show after 20 years of preferential tax treatment; it remains woefully dependent on this federal support,” wrote conservative groups, including the American Energy Alliance, FreedomWorks and the R Street Institute.I guess these same principled conservatives oppose the preferential tax treatment afforded the oil and gas industry, that has endured for 100 years right? Guess again. This isn't a principled stand against government subsidies, it's a raid by the oil and gas industry on growing green energy competition. Consider the American Energy Alliance. According to even the presumably fossil fuel friendly Poltico:
The American Energy Alliance is the political arm of the Institute for Energy Research, and sources tell POLITICO that both groups are funded partly by the Koch brothers and their donor network.Oh, about those bats. As if 102 conservative groups are equally exorcised about unenforced wildlife protection laws, The Daily Caller appended this gem to the end of the article:
Wind turbines are also responsible 888,000 bat and 573,000 bird fatalities per year, according to research. However, wind companies have not been prosecuted for the mass killing of birds, which is against federal law.There has been considerable chatter this week about research recently published in the journal BioScience by University of Colorado researcher Mark Hayes whose body counts at 21 wind energy sites led him to conclude that U.S. wind turbines are killing 600,000 bats every year.
But let's put that seemingly huge number, 600,000, into a little perspective. For one thing, there are about 1,000 different bat species. According to this illustration, their range, excluding only the coldest places on Earth, is, well, everywhere:
Consider, as well, White Nose Syndrome (WNS):
White-nose Syndrome has killed more than 5.7 million bats since it was discovered in a single New York cave in February 2006. Seven bat species in 22 U.S. states and 5 Canadian provinces have now been documented with WNS.Where is the Right Wing outrage over those bat deaths?
Hey look, I love bats as much as the next blogger. They are fuzzy, many species eat lots of insects, and who, after all, wouldn't want one as a pet? But let's not make too much of Right Wing poutrage over Dr.Hayes's and other research into the effects of wind turbines on bats, birds or anybody else. I know for sure that air pollution, oil spills and anthropogenic global warming are generally bad for most species, probably including bats and definitely including people.
Moreover, it looks like the more rational bird lovers are coming to terms with wind energy:
It has been widely assumed for years that two groups that don't get along are wind power advocates and bird protection groups. But, in a move that shows how far things have come, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is looking at installing a wind turbine at its headquarters. The Society has applied to install a 100 meter (328 foot) tower for a wind turbine near its headquarters in Bedfordshire.What is good for birds will be good for bats. In any event, wind power, self-interested naysayers notwithstanding, is good for all of us.
This is not a complete reversal on the part of the RSPB, and there have been cases where the RSPB has objected to wind farms. But it shows how wrong the old stereotype is. The Society's perspective is that "renewable energy is an essential tool in the fight against climate change, which poses the largest threat to the long-term survival of birds and wildlife." Furthermore, they believe that, "so long as proper due diligence is conducted and potential wildlife impacts mitigated, ... developing wind power is a smart move."