EPA ban on wood stoves is freezing out rural America

But the larger problem is the Sue and Settle sweetheart lawsuits through which Greens dictate policy. 
by  

woodstove1-628x353

It seems that even wood isn’t green or renewable enough anymore. The EPA has recently banned the production and sale of 80% of America’s current wood-burning stoves, the oldest heating method known to mankind and mainstay of rural homes and many of our nation’s poorest residents. The agency’s stringent one-size-fits-all rules apply equally to heavily air-polluted cities and far cleaner plus typically colder off-grid wilderness areas such as large regions of Alaska and the American West.

While the EPA’s most recent regulations aren’t altogether new, their impacts will nonetheless be severe. Whereas restrictions had previously banned wood-burning stoves that didn’t limit fine airborne particulate emissions to 15 micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3) of air, the change will impose a maximum 12 μg/m3 limit. To put this amount in context, the EPA estimates that secondhand tobacco smoke in a closed car can expose a person to 3,000-4,000 μg/m3 of particulates.

Most wood stoves that warm cabin and home residents from coast to coast cannot meet that standard. Older stoves that don’t cannot be traded in for updated types, but instead must be rendered inoperable, destroyed, or recycled as scrap metal.

fireplaceThe impacts of the EPA ruling will affect many families. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2011 survey statistics, 2.4 million American housing units (12% of all homes) burned wood as their primary heating fuel, compared with 7% that depended upon fuel oil.

Local governments in some states have gone even further than the EPA, banning not only the sale of noncompliant stoves, but even their use as fireplaces. As a result, owners face fines for infractions. Puget Sound, Washington, is one such location. Montréal, Canada, proposes to eliminate all fireplaces within its city limits.

Only weeks after the EPA enacted its new stove rules, attorneys general of seven states sued the agency to crack down on wood-burning water heaters as well. The lawsuit was filed by Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont, all predominantly Democrat states. Claiming that the new EPA regulations didn’t go far enough to decrease particle pollution levels, the plaintiffs cited agency estimates that outdoor wood boilers will produce more than 20% of wood-burning emissions by 2017. A related suit was filed by the environmental group EarthJustice.

Did EPA require a motivational incentive to tighten its restrictions? Sure, about as much as Br’er Rabbit needed to persuade Br’er Fox to throw him into the briar patch. This is but another example of EPA and other government agencies working with activist environmental groups to sue and settle on claims that afford leverage to enact new regulations which they lack statutory authority to otherwise accomplish.

“Sue and Settle “ practices, sometimes referred to as “friendly lawsuits,” are cozy deals through which far-left radical environmental groups file lawsuits against federal agencies wherein court-ordered “consent decrees” are issued based upon a prearranged settlement agreement they collaboratively craft together in advance behind closed doors. Then, rather than allowing the entire process to play out, the agency being sued settles the lawsuit by agreeing to move forward with the requested action both they and the litigants want.

And who pays for this litigation? All too often we taxpayers are put on the hook for legal fees of both colluding parties. According to a 2011 GAO report, this amounted to millions of dollars awarded to environmental organizations for EPA litigations between 1995 and 2010. Three “Big Green” groups received 41% of this payback, with Earthjustice accounting for 30% ($4,655,425). Two other organizations with histories of lobbying for regulations EPA wants while also receiving agency fundng are the American Lung Association (ALA) and the Sierra Club.

In addition, the Department of Justice forked over at least $43 million of our money defending the EPA in court between 1998 and 2010. This didn’t include money spent by the EPA for its legal costs in connection with those ripoffs, because the EPA doesn’t keep track of its attorneys’ time on a case-by-case basis.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has concluded that Sue and Settle rulemaking is responsible for many of EPA’s “most controversial, economically significant regulations that have plagued the business community for the past few years.”  Included are regulations on power plants, refineries, mining operations, cement plants, chemical manufacturers, and a host of other industries. Such consent decree-based rulemaking enables EPA to argue to Congress: “The court made us do it.”

Directing special attention to these congressional end run practices, Louisiana Senator David Vitter, top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, has launched an investigation. Last year he asked his Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell to join with AG’s of 13 other states who filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) seeking all correspondence between EPA and a list of 80 environmental, labor union, and public interest organizations that have been party to litigation since the start of the Obama Administration.

Other concerned and impacted parties have little influence over such court procedures and decisions. While the environmental group is given a seat at the table, outsiders who are most impacted are excluded, with no opportunity to object to the settlements. No public notice about the settlement is released until the agreement is filed in court…after the damage has been done.

In a letter to Caldwell, Senator Vitter wrote: “The collusion between federal bureaucrats and the organizations entering consent agreements under a shroud of secrecy represents the antithesis of a transparent government, and your participation in the FOIA request will help Louisianans understand the process by which these settlements were reached.”

Fewer citizens would challenge the EPA’s regulatory determinations were it not for its lack of accountability and transparency in accomplishing through a renegade pattern of actions what they cannot achieve through democratic legislative processes.

A recent example sets unachievable CO2 emission limits for new power plants. As I reported in my January 14 column, a group within the EPA’s own Science Advisory Board (SAB) determined that the studies upon which that regulation was based had never been responsibly peer reviewed, and that there was no evidence that those limits can be accomplished using available technology.

Compared with huge consequences of the EPA’s regulatory war on coal, the fuel source that provides more than 40% of America’s electricity, a clamp-down AKforeston humble residential wood-burning stoves and future water heaters may seem to many people as a merely a trifling or inconsequential matter. That is, unless it happens to significantly affect your personal life.

As a Washington Times editorial emphasized, the ban is of great concern to many families in cold remote off-grid locations. It noted, for example, that “Alaska’s 663,000 square miles is mostly forestland, offering residents and abundant source of affordable firewood. When county officials floated a plan to regulate the burning of wood, residents were understandably inflamed.”

Quoting Representative Tammie Wilson speaking to the Associated Press, the Times reported: “Everyone wants clean air. We just want to make sure that we can also heat our homes.” Wilson continued: “Rather than fret over the EPA’s computer–model–based warning about the dangers of inhaling soot from wood smoke, residents have more pressing concerns on their minds as the immediate risk of freezing when the mercury plunges.”

And speaking of theoretical computer model-based warnings, where’s that global warming when we really need it?

– See more at: http://www.cfact.org/2014/01/29/epa-ban-on-wood-stoves-is-freezing-out-rural-america/#sthash.j3hjM4Ys.dpuf

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Bearings: The Achilles Heel of Wind Turbines

Story by Eric Worrall –

wind_turbine_bearings[1]A few years ago, I used to know a senior wind turbine engineer. One evening, over a few beers, he told me the dirty secret of his profession:

“The problem is the bearings. If we make the bearings bigger, the bearings last longer, but making the bearings larger increases friction, which kills turbine efficiency. But we can’t keep using the current bearings – replacing them is sending us broke. What we need is a quantum leap in bearing technology – bearing materials which are at least ten times tougher than current materials.”

At the time there was very little corroborating online material available to support this intriguing comment – but evidence seems to be accumulating that bearings are a serious problem for the wind industry.

Siemens citing bearing failures as part of the reason for a substantial fall in profit;
http://www.offshorewind.biz/2014/05/07/siemens-energy-division-profit-down-54-pct/

In the announcement of the opening of a new Siemens research facility;
http://www.greenoptimistic.com/2013/03/19/siemens-wind-turbine-research/
“… The Brande test center would evaluate the main parts of their wind turbines such as main bearings …”

http://www.geartechnology.com/newsletter/0112/drives.htm (an attempt to make direct drive turbines, to reduce bearing wear)
“… More accurately, it is typically the bearings within the gearbox that fail, in turn gumming up the gearbox, but that’s a story for another time. …”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burbo_Bank_Offshore_Wind_Farm
“… During summer 2010 Siemens decided to change the blade bearings on all 25 turbines as a pre-emptive measure after corrosion was found in blade bearings found on other sites. …”

Of course, there is the occasional video of catastrophic turbine failure;

Suggestions the industry is trying to conceal the scale of the turbine fire problem;

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2695266/Wind-turbine-fire-risk-Number-catch-alight-year-ten-times-higher-industry-admits.html

All of which creates an interesting question – just how much of our money is the government prepared to waste, to keep their wind dream afloat? If the costs are far greater than the industry admits, how long is the wind industry going to carry that additional hidden cost, before they try to push the costs onto taxpayers, or abandon wind technology altogether?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2116877/Is-future-Britains-wind-rush.html

EU rules against powerful vacuum cleaners ban ‘best’ models, Which? warns

UK Telegraph

Many of the best vacuum cleaners for sale in the UK will be banned as a result of new EU energy efficiency rules that come into force next month, consumer group Which? has warned.

Households wanting to buy a powerful model have been told they will need to “act quickly” before they sell out, as from September 1 companies will be prohibited from manufacturing or importing any vacuums with motors above 1,600 watts.

The European Commission claims that its new rules, which are intended to help tackle climate change by cutting Europe’s energy usage, will mean consumers “get better vacuum cleaners than ever before”.

However, Which? said that many of the models that its reviewers rate as the best on the market will fall foul of the rules.

Of seven “best buy” ratings awarded by its vacuum cleaner reviewers since January 2013, five of them have motors of more than 1,600 watts, it said.

Power hungry plasma TVs to be banne12 Jan 2009

Dyson takes Brussels to court 09 Oct 2013

“If you’re in the market for a powerful vacuum, you should act quickly, before all of the models currently available sell out,” the consumer group says in the latest issue of its magazine.

“A Best Buy 2,200w vac costs around £27 a year to run in electricity – only around £8 more than the best-scoring 1,600w we’ve tested.”

Which? said the full list of endangered “best buy” vacuums was available only to its subscribers.

However one such product is the Miele s8330 model, which has a 2,200 watt motor and advertises its “best buy” credentials on its manufacturer’s website.

The EU ban on powerful vacuum cleaners follows the introduction of rules to ban traditional light bulbs, which saw consumers rushing to stock up before they became obsolete.

Consumers complained that energy-efficient replacements bulbs were more expensive and took too long to warm up.

Brussels has denied that its latest rules on vacuums will affect consumers’ ability to clean their homes properly.

In a blog last year, European Commission spokesman Marlene Holzner wrote: “Vacuum cleaners will use less energy for the same performance – how much dust they pick up. This will help consumers to save money and make Europe as a whole use less energy.”

The average power of a vacuum on the market in Europe at the time was 1,800 watts. This will have to be halved within the next three years, as the limit of 1,600 watts will be reduced to just 900 watts from September 2017.

“The amount of watt does not automatically indicate how well a vacuum cleaner will clean. The amount of watt indicates how much electrical power is used by the engine,” Ms Holzer wrote. “The important question is: How efficient is this electrical power translated into picking-up dust?”

The EU rules will require vacuum cleaners to be sold with a new system of labels which will show their cleaning performance and requires a minimum level of performance.

Which? warns that the labels are “self-regulating, meaning that manufacturers will create their own labels” and it is unclear whether there is any independent third party checking up that consumers are getting correct information.

The ratings are also based on vacuums being tested brand new, so “don’t take into account any loss of suction as the container fills”.

Early indications showed “manufacturers that traditionally don’t do well in our tests have had ‘A’ ratings across the board” in the new self-regulated EU labels “while those that consistently do well haven’t scored as highly”, Which? said.

Ms Holzer said: “As a result of the new EU ecodesign and labelling regulations, consumers will also get better vacuum cleaners. In the past there was no legislation on vacuum cleaners and companies could sell poorly performing vacuum cleaners.

“Now, vacuum cleaners that use a lot of energy, that pick up dust poorly, emit too much dust at the exhaust of the vacuum cleaner, are noisy or break down pre-maturely will not be allowed on the market anymore. This means a better cleaning experience and less time and money spent on vacuum cleaning.”

Blowing Our Dollars in the Wind.

Wind energy produces costly, intermittent, unpredictable electricity. But Government subsidies and mandates have encouraged a massive gamble on wind investments in Australia – over $7 billion has already been spent and another $30 billion is proposed. This expenditure is justified by the claim that by using wind energy there will be less carbon dioxide emitted to the atmosphere which will help to prevent dangerous global warming.

Incredibly, this claim is not supported by any credible cost-benefit analysis – a searching enquiry is well overdue. Here is a summary of things that should be included in the enquiry.

Firstly, no one knows how much global warming is related to carbon dioxide and how much is due to natural variability. However, the historical record shows that carbon dioxide is not the most important factor, and no one knows whether net climate feedbacks are positive or negative. In many ways, the biosphere and humanity would benefit from more warmth, more carbon dioxide and more moisture in the atmosphere.

However, let’s assume that reducing man’s production of carbon dioxide is a sensible goal and consider whether wind power is likely to achieve it. To do this we need to look at the whole life cycle of a wind tower.

Wind turbines are not just big simple windmills – they are massive complex machines whose manufacture and construction consume much energy and many expensive materials.  These include steel for the tower, concrete for the footings, fibre glass for the nacelle, rare metals for the electro-magnets, steel and copper for the machinery, high quality lubricating oils for the gears, fibre glass or aluminium for the blades, titanium and other materials for weather-proof paints, copper, aluminium and steel for the transmission lines and support towers, and gravel for the access roads.

There is a long production chain for each of these materials. Mining and mineral extraction rely on diesel power for mobile equipment and electrical power for haulage, hoisting, crushing, grinding, milling, smelting, refining. These processes need 24/7 reliable electric power which, in Australia, is most likely to come from coal.

These raw materials then have to be transported to many specialised manufacturing plants, again using large quantities of energy, generating more carbon dioxide.

Then comes the construction phase, starting with building a network of access roads, clearance of transmission routes, and excavation of the massive footings for the towers. Have a look here at the massive amount of steel, concrete and energy consumed in constructing the foundations for just one tower.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KX0RhjeLlCs

Not one tonne of steel or concrete can be produced without releasing carbon dioxide in the process.

Almost all of the energy used during construction will come from diesel fuel, with increased production of carbon dioxide.

Moreover, every bit of land cleared results in the production of carbon dioxide as the plant material dozed out of the way rots or is burnt, and the exposed soil loses its humus to oxidation.

Once the turbine starts operating the many towers, transmission lines and access roads need more maintenance and repair than a traditional power plant that produces concentrated energy from one small plot of land using a small number of huge, well-tested, well protected machines. Turbines usually operate in windy, exposed, isolated locations. Blades need to be cleaned using large specialised cranes; towers and machinery need regular inspection and maintenance; and mobile equipment and manpower needs to be on standby for lightning strikes, fires or accidents. All of these activities require diesel powered equipment which produces more carbon dioxide.

Even when they do produce energy, wind towers often produce it at times when demand is low – at night for example. There is no benefit in this unwanted production, but it is usually counted as saving carbon fuels.

Every wind farm also needs backup power to cover the 65%-plus of wind generating capacity that is lost because the wind is not blowing, or blowing such a gale that the turbines have to shut down.

In Australia, most backup is provided by coal or gas plants which are forced to operate intermittently to offset the erratic winds. Coal plants and many gas plants cannot switch on and off quickly but must maintain steam pressure and “spinning reserve” in order to swing in quickly when the fickle wind drops. This causes grid instability and increases the carbon dioxide produced per unit of electricity. This waste should be debited to the wind farm that caused it.

Wind turbines also consume energy from the grid when they are idle – for lubrication, heating, cooling, lights, metering, hydraulic brakes, energising the electro-magnets, even to keep the blades turning lazily (to prevent warping) and to maintain line voltage when there is no wind. A one-month study of the Wonthaggi wind farm in Australia found that the facility consumed more electricity than it produced for 16% of the period studied. A detailed study in USA showed that 8.3% of total wind energy produced was consumed by the towers themselves. This is not usually counted in the carbon equation.

The service life of wind towers is far shorter than traditional power plants. Already many European wind farms have reached the end of their life and contractors are now gearing up for a new boom in the wind farm demolition and scrap removal business. This phase is likely to pose dangers for the environment and require much diesel powered equipment producing yet more carbon dioxide.

Most estimates of carbon dioxide “saved” by using wind power look solely at the carbon dioxide that would be produced by a coal-fired station producing the rated capacity of the wind turbine. They generally ignore all the other ways in which wind power increases carbon energy usage, and they ignore the fact that wind farms seldom produce name-plate capacity.

When all the above factors are taken into account over the life of the wind turbine, only a very few turbines in good wind locations are likely to save any carbon dioxide. Most will be either break-even or carbon-negative – the massive investment in wind may achieve zero climate “benefits” at great cost.

Entrepreneurs or consumers who choose wind power should be free to do so but taxpayers and electricity consumers should not be forced to subsidise their choices for questionable reasons. People who claim climate sainthood for wind energy should be required to prove this by detailed life-of-project analysis before getting legislative support and subsidies.

Otherwise we are just blowing our dollars in the wind.

Viv Forbes,15 July 2014

For those who wish to read more:

UK Wind farms will create more carbon dioxide than they save:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/windpower/9889882/Wind-farms-will-create-more-carbon-dioxide-say-scientists.html

Wind energy does little to reduce carbon dioxide emissions:
http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/64492/wind-energy-reduces-co2-emissions-few-percent

The High Cost of reducing carbon dioxide using wind energy:
http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/ib_11.htm

Wind power does not avoid significant amounts of greenhouse gas emissions:
http://carbon-sense.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/lang-wind-and-emissions.pdf
http://www.masterresource.org/2009/11/wind-integration-incremental-emissions-from-back-up-generation-cycling-part-i-a-framework-and-calculator/

Wind Power may not reduce emissions as much as expected:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2012/05/30/wind-power-may-not-reduce-carbon-emissions-argonne/

Why Wind Won’t Work:
http://carbon-sense.com/2011/02/08/why-wind-wont-work/

Energy Consumption in Wind Facilities:
http://www.aweo.org/windconsumption.html

Growing Problem of Grid Instability:
http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/instability-in-power-grid-comes-at-high-cost-for-german-industry-a-850419.html

Contractors prepare for US81M boom in decommissioning North Sea wind farms:
http://www.heavyliftpfi.com/news/niras-cashes-in-on-wind-farm-future.html

Time to End Wind Power Corporate Welfare:
http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA644.html

TOP PROFESSOR FIRED FOR EXPOSING HUGE WIND ENERGY SCAM

Written by John Droz Jr

Henrik Møller, Denmark’s leading academic expert on noise research, has been fired by his university after exposing a far-reaching cover up by the Danish government of the health risks caused by wind turbine noise pollution.

Moller

Shock and outrage at this latest example of the heavey-handed cover up of government-backed junk science has brought strong condemnation from independent scientists. John Droz Jr, a respected critic of wind farms, has issued the following condemnatory response:

As you probably know, a passion of mine is defending my profession (Science) from assault.

This is approaching a full-time job, as those promoting political or economic agendas are painfully aware that real Science is a major threat to their aspirations — so they are aggressively attacking it on multiple fronts. (See ScienceUnderAssault.info.)

We now have yet another distressing example, where a leading scientist has lost his job — apparently for the crime of being a conscientious, competent academic, focused on quality research (instead of chasing grant money).

Dr. Henrik Møller, is an world-renown expert on infra-sound, and has published several high-quality studies on low-frequency acoustics (like here, here, here, and here). More recently, some of these have dealt with industrial wind energy noise (e.g. here — which was peer-reviewed).

He has been praised as Denmark’s “leading noise researcher.” What’s even more important is that he has been courageous enough to have publicly spoken out against poor government policies, as well as the misinformation disseminated from the wind energy cartel.

In Denmark there have been several newspaper reports about this surprising firing, but I’m sending this to the AWED list as such an event should have much wider coverage.Here are English translations of a few Danish articles (I have the originals as well). It seems to me that some of the key points made in them are:

— Dr. Møller has had thirty eight (38) years of distinguished service for Aalborg University.

— Ironically, this institution publicly prides itself as looking out for its professors: “At Aalborg University we focus intensively on staff welfare and job satisfaction.”

— He was the only one of 200± researchers at the Department of Electronic Systems in Aalborg who was let go…

— The purported reason for his firing, is that the professor is no longer “financially lucrative” for the university…
— Despite claiming that the termination was due to a shortage of funds, the university had recently hired two additional people in the same department…

— Dr. Møller’s reasoned responses were:
1) During the last year he may not have produced that much income, but in many other years his work resulted in substantial profit to the university.
2) Statistically, approximately half of the faculty would be operating at a loss — so why single him out?
3) In his prior 38 years of employment, and reviews, he was never informed that his job was solely dependent on outside funding.
4) Additionally, prior to the sacking, he had not been informed that his income production was a problem that need to be addressed — giving him a chance to do so.

— The Danish Society of Engineers, and the Danish Association of Masters and PhDs, have gone on record stating that it is unreasonable to dismiss researchers due to a lack of grants. Furthermore they reportedly said such a policy is contrary to the Danish University Act, which specifies that the purpose of research is to promote education, not to be a profit-making venture…

— The VP of the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations stated that it’s rare that a Danish professor is fired.

— It has been reported that the wind industry has frequently complained about Dr. Møller to his boss (Dean Eskild Holm Nielsen)…

— Consider this: the same Dean Nielsen was a keynote speaker at the Wind Industry Association’s meeting, the day after he fired Dr. Møller!

— As one article explains, this termination might have also come from the fact that the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) has a very close association with the wind industry, and that Dr. Møller’s scientific research had resulted in embarrassing revelations.

— The same article states that with Dr. Møller out of the picture, wind industry friendly DTU will now take over responsibility for assessing acoustical impacts of industrial wind turbines on Danish citizens. (I wonder what conclusions they will reach?)

As one report accurately stated: it takes courage for academics to focus on scientific research, instead of pursuing outside funding.

Please consider writing a short, polite email to Dr. Møller’s boss (who fired him) objecting to this shameful termination: Dean Nielsen
dekan-teknat@adm.aau.dk

It would be helpful to cc a reporter at an important Danish newspaper: Axel Pihl-Andersen:
axel.andersen@jp.dk

and bcc Dr. Møller:
henrikmoeller2@gmail.com

Regards,
John Droz, Jr.
Physicist & Environmental Advocate

PS — Although his studies on industrial wind energy only comprise a small amount of his thirty eight years of academic work, they may have resulted in the most notoriety.

Since many of the people on this list are interested in that topic, here are a few other examples of Dr. Møller’s work related to wind energy, in his words:

1) We made an analyses of a wind project in Maastricht, planned to possibly have turbines from a Danish company. The City Council stopped the project after our report — a result that did not make us popular with the Danish wind industry.

2) A reason why we seem to be a nuisance to the wind industry in Denmark is that we keep finding errors in noise calculations and evaluations. As an example, we found serious errors in the environmental impact assessment behind a new law on a wind turbine test center, and the law had to be changed.

3) We also revealed that in a big Vestas promotion, they mixed up two acoustical terms (and Vestas had to change part of their campaign). I’m afraid there are only Danish newspaper articles about that — which is unfortunate, because it was quite funny.

4) We also criticized Danish regulation of wind turbine noise, which resulted in feature articles in Danish newspapers. I am not sure if others have been translated, but here is one example.

5) We also put together some web pages about the Danish wind regulations, which made the wind industry complain about me to the Dean (again).

Bird Conservancy Files Suit Against Wind Turbines

Bonner R. Cohen, Ph. D.

American Bird Conservancy has filed a lawsuit against the federal government, charging the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service with “multiple violations of federal law” in granting wind turbine permits. At issue is the FWS’s controversial proposed rule that would allow wind power facilities to kill protected golden and bald eagles for periods of up to 30 years. Currently, eagle kill permits are valid for only five years.

The 1940 Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act imposes fines and jail time on people who kill eagles, either intentionally or accidentally. As part of its policy to push renewable energy, however, the Obama FWS in 2009 inserted an exemption into the law, allowing permits for wind turbines to eagle kills “accidentally” even when such kills are foreseeable when building wind farms.

Sacrificing Eagles for Wind Power
In its lawsuit, the American Bird Conservancy specifically cites the 1940 statute in stating the FWS is violating federal law. The FWS added the 2009 provision administratively; Congress played no role when the FWS unilaterally amended the law.

The FWS estimates wind turbines in the United States kill 440,000 birds each year, but many environmentalists say the number is much higher. A peer-reviewed study published last year in the Wildlife Society Bulletin reported U.S. wind turbines kill 1.4 million birds and bats each year, including 573,000 birds.

“Americans take pride in the fact that Bald Eagles are once again a common sight in many places across the country. Their popularity and symbolic importance suggests that the American people are not going to tolerate the deaths of many to wind turbines,” said Dr. Michael Hutchins, National Coordinator of American Bird Conservancy’s Bird Smart Wind Energy Program, in a press statement.

‘So Sue Me’
Energy analyst Marita Noon says the American Bird Conservancy suit is fitting considering President Obama’s bold challenge for people to sue his administration.

“President Obama has proudly challenged, ‘So sue me.’ The American Bird Conservancy is to be applauded for stepping up with a lawsuit against the administration’s policy of executive overreach and favoritism,” said Noon.

“While the law prescribes fines and jail time for those who accidentally kill bald and golden eagles, under Obama the FWS modified the law by allowing the favored wind industry ‘kill permits’ that permit wind turbine operators to murder the majestic birds by chopping them up,” Noon explained.

Bonner R. Cohen, Ph. D., (bcohen@nationalcenter.org) is a senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research.

Kansas Newspaper Embarrasses Itself on Wind Power

By James Taylor
Environment and Climate News

Wind power apologists say and write the silliest things. Whether economic illiteracy, political mendacity, or some other reason is to blame, Big Wind shills serially embarrass themselves by making claims that wouldn’t even make the multiple choice options for “Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?” Here is an example published this morning by a newspaper in Kansas:

Patrick Lowry at the Hays Daily News published an article about staffers for Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) wordsmithing Brownback’s statement that he would like to see the state phase out its renewable power mandates. Lowry utilized this news hook to display his embarrassing lack of knowledge about economics (or, as more cynical readers may say, propagate a deliberate and mendacious effort to misinform Daily News readers about energy economics).

Lowry began his wind power shilling by claiming the primary objective of folks who don’t want to be forced to purchase expensive wind power is “protecting long-standing interests of the oil industry.” Oil, however, is not used for electricity production. Oil is used to power motor vehicles. The “long-standing interests of the oil industry” might be in play if putting a propeller beanie on a Mack truck would allow said truck to barrel uphill at 70 mph, but I am wagering that even 99 percent of 5th graders know that putting a small wind propeller on an automobile is no substitute for gasoline.

Lowry further embarrassed himself by claiming that forcing consumers to purchase higher-priced electricity has “bolstered significantly” the Kansas economy.

“The relatively new wind energy business sector is reliant on subsidies, tax credits and forced mandates for energy companies to attract any private venture capital. It’s an expensive proposition, one that will not make it in the marketplace if left to its own devices. Not until that storage problem is solved. But that is precisely why the industry deserves taxpayer support. If turbines aren’t producing, there will be no research on how to maximize that energy,” Lowry argued.

Lowry acknowledged wind turbines “aren’t producing” enough to be economically competitive. He admitted Big Wind needs special “subsidies, tax credits and forced mandates” merely to remain in business. And somehow, forcing such an expensive failure of an industry on electricity ratepayers is good for the economy?

While Lowry believes government research investments in battery storage for wind power may someday make wind power cost-competitive (despite decades of government and private research investments having already failed to do so), forcing expensive wind power on Kansas now, while any such illusive technological breakthroughs are still a pipe dream, has done just the opposite of “bolster[ing] significantly] the Kansas economy. This has merely driven up the cost of living in Kansas much faster than would otherwise be the case, and making it harder for people to pay their bills is counterproductive to the state’s economic well-being.

Given such pitiable efforts to make the case for wind power, I will help Lowry along and present the best argument wind power apologists have to offer: wind power companies pay money to farmers and ranchers who allow wind turbines on their land, which enriches those farmers and ranchers. The problem with this argument, however, is wind power companies don’t simply wave a magic wand to create the rent money given to farmers and ranchers. Instead, the wind power companies raise electricity prices for all electricity customers throughout the state to pay the few farmers and ranchers who host the turbines. In a most unappealing manner, this is taxing the many to pay the few and redistributing money from poor and middle-class electricity customers to pay rich landowners.

Wind power apologists say and write the silliest things….