Monday, May 6, 2013

Wind energy vs. bald eagles

    Wind power is becoming increasingly popular on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. There has been an estimated 60 new wind turbines built in Somerset County. However, with the growing bald eagle population that has also been occurring on the Eastern Shore, there have been setbacks for the construction of the wind turbines. After being removed from the endangered species list in 2007, bald eagles still have a relatively low population size. According to the Committee on Natural Resources, about 1.54 billion dollars has been given by Congress to the US Fish and Wildlife Serve to protect endangered species. Since bald eagles were once on the endangered species list, the money that went to preserving the population will be wasted due to the new wind turbines that are being constructed. The wind turbines in Somerset County have been projected to kill up to 43 bald eagles a year, which is very damaging to the mid-Atlantic coast population of just 400 bald eagles. The loss of bald eagles could be very damaging because some towns depend on the existence of bald eagles in order to bring in revenue. Small towns, such as Sauke Prairie, bring in approximately 1.2 million dollars when the season for bald eagle watching is at its peak due to the tourists that come for bird watching. Although bald eagles are an important aspect to the economy and the ecosystem, the wind turbines also provide a lot of benefits to our economy as well. Wind turbines have the potential to generate 2-3 million dollars a year after investing the initial 200 million dollars.
    Personally, I can see both sides on this subject. Wind turbines are beneficial for the environment, provide a healthier source of energy, and generate income for the economy. On the other hand, bald eagles are a vital part of the ecosystem, draw in revenue, and should be able to coexist with humans. It is that unfair humans can be a major influence on whether a species gets to continue surviving or not. Even though I see both sides, I am leaning more toward the bald eagles protection, since they are a part of the environment. Humans shouldn’t give themselves the right to take away their existence. Humans take advantage of the resources that the Earth provides for their own gain. Along with that statement, humans are the only species in the world that impacts the environment in such a detrimental way that it influences the existence of a large number of species, not just the bald eagles. There are ways that the bald eagle’s existence can benefit humans. As stated previously, many towns in the United States benefit from the eagle’s survival. Bald eagles are a national symbol and we should be trying our hardest to protect them.
--Megan Cleaver

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