Wednesday, May 9, 2012

America vs. Clean Energy

What happens when the heavy hand of over-regulation conflicts with the forceful push of subsidized industry? When the first is the preservation of the very symbol of America and the second is the current Administration's love affair with "clean" energy development -- the eagle buys it.
“These proposed changes will help facilitate the responsible development of renewable energy and other projects, while conserving bald and golden eagles by requiring key conservation and monitoring measures to be implemented,” said Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “We are committed to monitoring the impact of projects on eagle populations over the life of the permits to ensure these measures are effective.”

From what I gather in the supporting documents*, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has some avian protection policies that are onerous on those trying to develop clean energy projects.  Therefore, the permits allowing a "non-purposeful take" of eagles are going to be extended from five years to 30 years -- for the good guys, of course.

I am certainly in favor of having real costs of project development considered under any proposed law; the problem here is that this became a concern ONLY when the regulations negatively impact an administration favorite.

Here is a fascinating look at the clash between environmental regulations of the past rearing their ugly heads on the future. Published in 2007 in the Energy Law Journal, the article clearly states that the avian protection regulations, which were fine when they impacted only other industries, are now dogging the wind energy industry. Therefore, something must be done!

The laws that regulate impacts to avian wildlife in the United States are colliding with renewable energy policy and promotion in the United States.  In particular, wind energy systems and the industry as a whole have grown to a scale that wildlife impact issues, long in background, have come to the forefront. Chief among them are avian impacts.  Yet the very problem of avian impacts is complicated, if not created, by other federal and state policies and laws that have not been adjusted to reflect current energy policy favoring renewable energy.  [emphasis added]

While it's difficult to qualify, let alone quantify the unintended consequences of regulations, it is becoming easier to see that we are all the victims of the whims of an overactive and overabundant bird of prey known as the federal government.

*The USFWS Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act page has a link to the permitting process and the Act: neither of these links work. Found full Federal Register publication of proposed changes here.

1 comment:

HaynesBE said...

Slowly getting caught up on some long overdue personal indulgence of reading your delightful blog.
I love your sense of humor.