(p. A4) President Biden has taken steps to restore criminal penalties for accidental killing of migratory birds, a move that if adopted as expected later this year would add pressure to wind power developers who are working to fulfill his mandate to boost wind-farm developments as sources of clean energy.
Wind turbines—some with 200-foot blades spinning up to 180 mph—are estimated to kill between 140,000 and 500,000 birds a year through accidental collisions, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The wide variation in the estimate reflects the difficulty in tracking bird deaths, but whatever the toll, it is expected to rise as more wind turbines are built. Wildlife researchers in 2013 estimated that the Energy Department’s 2008 wind-power target would push bird deaths to about 1.4 million annually. That figure hasn’t been updated to reflect the Biden administration’s plans to expand offshore wind farms.
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(Note: the online version of the story has the date June 5, 2021, and has the title “Expanding Wind Power Yet Killing Fewer Birds Is Biden’s Quandary.”)