By Stephen C. Webster on October 14, 2013

In what may be the most absurd Fox News clip this year, "Red Eye" host Greg Gutfeld claimed over the weekend that wind farms kill "billions of birds" every year, calling them "the Manson family of alternative energy."

At issue is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's decision not to prosecute the operators of the Shiloh IV Wind Project in California, even though Eagles, among other birds, have been killed by the slow-moving turbine blades. The permitting process was specifically authorized by Congress in 2007 when it passed the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, which allows projects that may inadvertently kill Eagles to go forward, provided steps are taken to benefit the overall Eagle population.

Wildlife experts say that increased bird mortality on wind farms is largely due to a failure to properly study the migratory patterns of protected species in the area, which is standard practice for most new wind installations.

As the law specifies, the Shiloh IV wind farm is now getting a permit from the federal government excusing them for the accidental deaths of five Eagles over the next five years. In exchange, the operators installed upgrades to over 100 of the surrounding power lines -- which pose a much bigger threat to avian life than turbines -- in order to mitigate the wind farm's toll on the bird population.

"That's four million Eagles," Gutfeld sarcastically pronounced. "Their reasoning... is that wind energy reduces the CO2 in the air, which reduces climate change, which benefits Eagles and other wildlife."

He went on to say that wind turbines kill "billions of birds," then asked: "When are we going to give up on wind energy and invent something like cat energy? Energy made by cats."

Gutfeld concluded the segment by insisting that America should be fueled entirely by frack gas and nuclear energy -- which his co-host called "100 percent safe" -- and then tossed in a little bit of climate change denial for good measure.

Despite his claims, The National Academy of Sciences disagrees with Gutfeld on bird deaths. Wind turbines do not kill "billions of birds" every year -- in fact, only three bird deaths out of every 100,000 are attributable to turbines, amounting to about 200,000 birds per year, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

While that certainly sounds bad, glass windows, power lines, cars and environmental toxins pose a significantly greater threat to avian life than wind farms. The AWEA estimates that collisions with buildings and cars claim an average of 1 billion+ birds' lives each year, while environmental pollution kills more than 72 million annually.

This video is from Fox News's "Red Eye," published online Sunday, October 13, 2013 -- Fighting climate change by killing eagles to save them?

Photo: Screenshot via FoxNews.com.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).


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