Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has one job: whatever the hell the fossil fuel industry tells him to do, he does. Last week, during an energy conference Zinke explained how the gas and oil industry should be right inside of the Department of the Interior, and according to Boomberg, this is somehow a part of how green Zinke is.
When solar facilities are built on public land, people can’t hunt or pursue other recreation there, he said, and wind turbines “probably chop up as many as 750,000 birds a year.”
Zinke acknowledged, however, that “certainly oil and gas and coal have a consequence on carbon.”
At least he acknowledges carbon, I guess? But let’s get back to these bird-killing wind turbines! Here’s USA Today from a couple of years ago.
Wind turbines kill between 214,000 and 368,000 birds annually — a small fraction compared with the estimated 6.8 million fatalities from collisions with cell and radio towers and the 1.4 billion to 3.7 billion deaths from cats, according to the peer-reviewed study by two federal scientists and the environmental consulting firm West Inc.
Here’s the New York Times in 2011.
“Five billion birds die in the U.S. every year,” said Melanie Driscoll, a biologist and director of bird conservation for the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi Flyway for the National Audubon Society.
That means that on average, 13.7 million birds die in this country every day. This number, while large, needs to be put into context. The federal Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that a minimum of 10 billion birds breed in the United States every year and that as many as 20 billion may be in the country during the fall migratory season.
I’m no math genius but something about all of those numbers don’t seem to match up. Zinke’s apples and oranges comparison is a rhetorical trick called “being full of shit.”