American Bird Conservancy Sues Over Wind Energy

When duck and upland bird hunters talk conservation, an increasing concern is whether wind turbines—now a permanent fixture on the landscape—will have a negative impact. They're concerned that the government's efforts to promote green energy will actually end up killing a lot of ducks. Are the government and energy developers being fully transparent about the threat to game birds that the big spinning turbines pose? Or are they hiding something?

The American Bird Conservancy (ABC) apparently shares that concern, and is suing the Department of the Interior (DOI) to find out. The lawsuit alleges that the DOI violated the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by failing to provide the ABC with a variety of requested information, namely the correspondence between the DOI and wind developers regarding the deaths of birds and bats at wind development sites in 10 states.

"It’s ridiculous that Americans have to sue in order to find out what their government is saying to wind companies about our wildlife—a public trust,” said Kelly Fuller, Wind Campaign Coordinator for ABC. “ABC is concerned that many of these projects have the potential to take a devastating toll on songbirds, majestic eagles, and threatened and endangered species,” she added.

If wind turbines are indeed killing more birds than is being reported (440,000 per year by the government's own estimate), then, given their increasing presence, the public ought to know about it.

What do you think? Are wind turbines bad for wildlife?

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2 Responses to American Bird Conservancy Sues Over Wind Energy

Kyle Wintersteen wrote:
July 16, 2012

@Fletch That's a great point. We can't just oppose all energy production. And, as I pointed out in the story, "Are Windmills Killing Ducks?" (, there's a silver lining to wind energy--it may offer landowners an incentive to establish wildlife easements, rather than developing or farming their properties.

Fletch wrote:
July 13, 2012

Can't use coal, because it's dirty. Can't use nukes, because they're scary. Can't use gas, because hydrofracking is bad. Can't use hydro, because dams eradicate natural biosystems. Can't use wind, because a few birds get killed . . . Are we supposed to go back to living in caves and wearing loincloths? Oh, wait, they're made from animal pelts.