For the Birds

Golden eagle wind energy deaths
An eagle flies dangerously close to an eco-guillotine (AP)
February 14, 2014

It’s Valentines Day, America. Hold your loved ones close, and tell that special someone how you feel. Talk to them about the importance of #GettingCovered on, and, by all means, lecture them about climate change.

While you’re at it, send them this hit piece from the New Republic’s Jeffrey Ball, condemning the treasured holiday as "an environmental travesty." Ball is jaded by the public’s indifference to the "carbon costs" associated with greeting cards. All that paper. All those delivery trucks. The corporations. Why can’t we just express our feelings over email?

We are troubled too. We are troubled by the self-importance of bourgeois liberals whose "commitment" to environmentalism consists of voting for Democrats, laughing at Jon Stewart’s jokes about Haliburton, and disliking the Koch brothers—even if they’re not sure why.

Because as soon as caring about the environment becomes even the slightest bit inconvenient, it turns out most people don’t give a damn. Ball himself admits to having satisfied the "consumerist expectations" of his daughter—to the detriment of the environment—on at least one occasion. For shame, Jeffrey. For shame.

When so-called green energy fails to meet expectations, as it often does, or suffers from unintended consequences, as tends to happen, liberals cling religiously to solar panels, hybrid cars, and wind turbines. Even when they facilitate the wholesale slaughter of our nation’s birds.

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Station outside Las Vegas, the recipient of a $1.6 billion taxpayer-backed loan, has been incinerating our feathered friends with heat lasers reflected off its 350,000 garage door-sized mirrors. Like Iron Dome, but with solar panels.

Except it’s even worse. Because, as the Journal report notes, the birds are actually lured to their demise: "Biologists think some birds may have mistaken the vast shimmering solar arrays at all three installations for a lake and become trapped on the ground after landing." But hey, at least the electricity generated by the plant will cost only twice as much as conventional electricity.

The bird-slaughter is hardly unique to Ivanpah. Wind farms have been mowing down golden eagles for years. There’s no telling how many times Rachel Maddow has had to stroll pensively among the Chinese-made turbines in one of her "Lean Forward" ads, just to get a clean take with no eagle parts raining from the sky. The recent weaponization of solar panels is simply another escalation in the Obama administration’s campaign of death.

Birds aren’t the only targets, by the way. Baby tortoises and adorable kit foxes are also counted among the victims. Nothing is sacred in the war on climate change. Indian tribes in Colorado have pleaded with the administration to end its "frantic pursuit" of solar projects in the Mojave Desert, where ancient burial grounds are desecrated in the name of "winning the future."

Many of these animals are "protected" under federal law. Killing a bald or a golden eagle is supposed to result in six-figure fines and up to 18 months in prison. So, doing what comes naturally, President Obama has decided to delay enforcement of the law—this is not a joke—for "up to 30 years."

The Associated Press observed, with a straight face, that the president’s decision underscored his "willingness to accept environmental trade-offs—pollution, loss of conservation land, and the deaths of eagles—in hopes that green energy will help fight climate change."

If Americans aren’t entirely sold on this Forward-Leaning strategy to save the environment by polluting the air, destroying the land, and decapitating bald eagles, can you really blame them? And if you use the words "Valentine’s Day" and "carbon dioxide" in the same sentence, can you really blame them for thinking your cause is for the birds, even as you chop and fry them into extinction?