During a Thursday One America News (OANN) interview, Representative Louie Gohmert took issue with the “green stuff” funded by the bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill which passed this week in the Senate, calling it “out of control.”
The Republican from Texas said he was concerned for birds that live or migrate near renewable energy plants, claiming they could be casualties of green infrastructure funding. “Another part of that Green Deal is the huge solar farm that they have out on the border of California and Nevada,” he said on OANN. “Thousands of acres of concave mirrors that magnify the sun toward three towers that heat up the liquid in there and turn turbines.”
“They weren’t anticipating hundreds and thousands of what they would call ‘flamers,'” Gohmert claimed. “Because when the birds fly through, if they survive the windmills, then they hit that magnified sun, explode in flame, and down they go, bird guts all over the mirrors. So that takes some cleaning up.”
A 2014 report by CBS looked at a solar facility in California’s Mojave Desert where roughly 6000 birds die per year. The report cited a federal investigation of three southern California solar facilities that they said, “act as a ‘mega trap’ attracting insects, which in turn attract insect-eating birds, which are (then) incapacitated.” In this report, the birds were referred to as “streamers.”
According to a 2016 study, roughly 140,000 birds die annually in the United States because of solar power plants. There is still no clear scientific consensus as to why birds have been shown to be attracted to wind farms and solar power plants. One theory called the “lake effect” is that “migrating birds perceive the reflective surfaces of [solar] panels as bodies of water and collide with the structures as they attempt to land on the panels,” according to a report from Energy.gov.
However, fossil fuel manufacturing plants are responsible for the deaths of a much larger number of birds per year. In 2006, fossil fuel plants caused the deaths of about 14.5 million birds in the United States.
Newsweek reached out to the Avian Solar Work Group for comment but did not hear back in time for publication.