BILL WOULD LET ENERGY COMPANIES REMOVE NESTS AND EGGS, EXEMPT COMPANIES FROM PENALTIES FOR KILLING EAGLES, HAWKS AND OTHER RAPTORS
By Miriam Raftery
March 9, 2013 (Sacramento)—Wildlife experts are reacting with outrage to AB 516, a bill in the California Legislature that would allow energy and utility companies to obtain “take” permits authorizing destruction of birds, eggs and nest that stand in the way of electrical transmission infrastructure.
SDG&E was caught flying helicopters too close to protected eagle nests at least four times during construction of Sunrise Powerlink. Those incursions in three East County locations resulted in removal of one pilot and suspension of others, as well as grounding, GPS tracking and other regulatory enforcement actions. But if this bill goes through, such activities could occur without penalty in the future.
“…Killing rare protected species was a crime at both the state and federal level. So with the help of government agencies, the industry went to work stripping and changing environmental laws…”—Jim Wiegand
By Jim Wiegand
February 25, 2013 (San Diego's East County)-- In 1984 the California Energy Commission made the following statement in their Wind Energy Program Progress Report., "The development of wind energy in California has been very rapid, and the foundations for a significant new domestic energy industry are in place. As should be expected however, with any fast growing industry using a new technology, there are many institutional, engineering, environmental, and economic issues which must be resolved before the industry is secure and it growth assured."
Similar fate could await eagles in path of Iberdrola’s Tule Wind project in East County
By Miriam Raftery
January 20, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Wildlife protection groups and residents have reacted in horror to the removal of an active bald eagle nest by a wind developer in Canada, an event documented on video January 5, just weeks after a photo of the active pair was taken at the site.
Now ECM has learned that the environmental documents filed by Iberdrola Renewables for its Tule Wind project in McCain Valley would allow SDG&E to “remove all existing raptor nests” prior to construction.
January 4, 2013 (Ramona) – HawkWatch 2013 begins on January 5 at 9 a.m. at WRI Headquarters in Ramona on Highland Valley Road. Observe wintering and resident raptors including Golden Eagles, wintering Ferruginous Hawks, Red-tailed Hawks, Prairie Falcons and Red-shouldered Hawks, to name a few. There are over 19 species of raptors that can be seen at the Ramona Grasslands.
By Jim Wiegand
March 28, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) -- In the first part of this wind industry cover-up story, it was pointed out how California Condors were trapped from the wild in the mid 1980s as an emergency response to save the quickly disappearing population from thousands of turbines that had been placed in the Tehachapi Pass region.
What is not known is that during this same period of time in the 1980s, tens of thousands of other birds also perished at California wind farms. If one chooses not to believe any of this, then knowing how the industry responded in 1989 should convince anybody about the ongoing 28 year mortality cover-up by the wind industry.
Story, photos and video by Billy Ortiz
November 17, 2010 (Alpine)—Far off the beaten path in the back country of east San Diego County, nestled in a hidden glen, is a special rehabilitation center for injured and orphaned birds of prey. Sky Hunters is a raptor education facility geared toward public information, preservation and rehabilitation of birds of prey. Scroll down for details and to view our video.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service should investigate bird deaths at wind farms
By Jim Wiegand, Wildlife Biologist
February 12, 2010 (San Diego)--Every day at wind farms across America threatened or endangered species are killed from collisions with blades of the prop wind turbine. This is considered legal because the offending wind farms either hold the "incidental take permit" or were not required to have one because they did not fully disclose environmental impacts of their activities. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services requires the procurement of an incidental take permit for any individual or private industry if threatened and endangered species will be killed in a project. This killing is referred to as "take" -- and the perrmit holder has immunity from prosecution.
February 1, 2009 (Ramona)--Each Saturday in February from 9 a.m to noon, the public is invited to visit the Ramona Grasslands with the Wildlife Research Institute, Inc. for a free educational program. You will see raptors such as the Golden Eagle, the wintering Ferruginous Hawk, the Red-tailed Hawk, Prairie Falcon and the Red-shouldered Hawk. Nineteen (19) species of raptors alone have been recorded at this Raptor Hotspot.