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Friday, June 1, 2007

The Real Killer: Wind Power

Faced with global warming, environmental toxins, acid rain, the ozone hole, and the reflected glare from Dick Cheney's forehead, the US government has finally identified the real threat to Nature. Here it is:

This week Congressman Nick Rahall (D. WV) introduced H.R. 2337, a proposed law that would require the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS, or ooos-fwiss, meaning chubby bluejay in Norwegian) to review every existing and planned wind project to make sure they aren't hurting birds.

Now I like birds as far as they go, though we do compete for some bugs, but I try to run an open pond. Still, there are a couple of problems here. First, not only do the USFWS inspectors have no particular expertise in windmills, but it would also take them approximately 700 years to get around to inspecting every wind project out there, given that they also have to, say, inspect fish and wildlife, plus they get a lunch hour.

In the meantime, landowners and farmers could face jail time or a $50,000 penalty for putting a wind turbine, whether for personal or commercial use, on their property without certification by the USFWS (ooos-fwiss) director.

Are wind turbines really causing a bird holocaust that needs to be stopped? The National Academy of Sciences doesn't think so. They released a report earlier this month saying that wind turbines were responsible for less than 0.003% of human-caused bird mortality -- one thousand times lower than bird mortality associated with house cats.

Even the National Audubon Society, those tiresome bird-huggers, decided last November that -- since global warming was a much, much bigger threat to birds and other wildlife -- it "strongly supports" wind power as a clean energy source.

So what is Congressman Rahall really so upset about? Hmm. He's the rep for West Virginia. Don't they have a lot of coal mines down there? Is it possible that wind power might be seen as a bit of a threat to someone's campaign contributors?

Nah. That would suggest that money influences politics, and government isn't looking out for the best interests of ordinary frogs like you and me.

Mmm, I do feel a breeze today. Could it be the winds of change? Hope it's a good one.