From an environmental point of view, I have trouble thinking of anything that could possibly be worse: the President of the United States bowing to General Electric, to allow unlimited numbers of bald eagles to be killed by wind turbines over the next thirty years. Easily, four generations of Americans will get to see this slaughter. This ends the Endangered Species Act, as we know it. It lasted forty years, and then President Obama was elected.
December 8, 2013: The Los Angeles Times simply calls dicing and slicing eagles a bit of "leeway" for General Electric and the wind industry. If The Los Angeles Times does not care, does anyone?
NBC is reporting:
Under pressure from the wind-power industry, the Obama administration said Friday it will allow companies to kill or injure eagles without the fear of prosecution for up to three decades.
The new rule is designed to address environmental consequences that stand in the way of the nation's wind energy rush: the dozens of bald and golden eagles being killed each year by the giant, spinning blades of wind turbines.If the Sierra Club has no objection to the wind industry decimating bald and golden eagles, and probably bringing about the demise of the California condor and the whooping crane, I certainly won't prolong the discussion. [It should be noted that the president continues to dither on making a decision on the Keystone XL. My hunch is that this won't help the Keystone XL. You can't screw the environmentalists over and over and over and hope to keep the base.]
This is a watershed event. For the first time in this administration, technology and big-money corporations have won out over environmentalists. And it's not a small issue: these are bald eagles, golden eagles, condors, whopping cranes: birds that even people like me can relate to.
For the environmentalists this is very, very bad news. It will be hard for a jury / judge to find an oil company negligent for killing a single migratory duck that happens to fly into a waste pond.
Finally, projects that have been held up due to endangered crustaceans may now get the go-ahead. The administration's decision will probably be a one-off, but sympathetic judges to big projects will use it as precedent. After all, if it's okay to give full immunity to unlimited bird kills, it's hard to defend the snail darter.