Green Room

Feds go after big oil for 28 bird deaths; ignore 400K deaths from wind turbines

posted at 1:48 pm on October 1, 2011 by

A math problem from the federal government: When is 28 greater than 400,000? The answer: When the 28 represents the number of migratory birds killed by the activities of oil companies, and the 400,000 represents the number killed by flying into wind turbines. (h/t The Blaze)

Last month, seven North Dakota oil companies were charged in federal court with the deaths of 28 migratory birds that had landed in oil waste pits in the western part of the state. The pits are a byproduct ofoil and gas drilling operations. The maximum penalty for each charge under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act is six months in prison and a $15,000 fine.

But a law’s a law, right? Well, sometimes. It appears that a different standard (call it “No harm, no fowl”?) obtains when it comes to “good” forms of energy. Comments George Fenwick, president of the American Bird Conservancy (ABC):

It is perplexing that similar prosecutions have yet to be brought against the operators of wind farms. Every year wind turbines kill hundreds of thousands of birds, including eagles, hawks, and songbirds, but the operators are being allowed to get away with it. It looks like a double standard.

The ABC cites a 2009 estimate by the Fish and Wildlife Service that places the number of bird deaths from wind turbine collisions at 440,000. That number is expected to rise dramatically by 2030, by which point wind energy will be 12 times as prevalent as it is now.

Kevin Cramer, North Dakota’s public service commissioner, shares Fenwick’s presumption that a double standard is at work. Appearing on a Bismarck, North Dakota, radio show, Cramer called the government action “chilling” in a free society, adding:

[W]hen you selectively prosecute this way, it’s the worst injustice and the grossest form of discrimination in a free society that you can ever have.

None of which has deterred U.S. Attorney Timothy Purdon from pressing forward, despite criticism that the case is a targeted effort to advance the Obama administration’s war on fossil fuels. Even the presiding judge has observed that violations of the Migratory Bird Act, which dates to 1918, are normally treated as Class B or C misdemeanors.

For their part, the oil companies under indictment have pleaded not guilty, though, as the Wall Street Journal reports:

[T]hey are not unamazed. They say they’re not responsible for the bird deaths and that, even if they were, the deaths were ‘incidental’ to lawful commercial activity in full compliance with all environmental laws.

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Will I get banned if I say that I hat@ bho and his whole stinken team for what they are doing to our Republic? 28 vs 400,000 and WHO gets the feds after them? The evil nasty make money to fuel our nation oil companies! NOT the hand full of bho’s select businesses!
L

letget on October 1, 2011 at 3:49 PM

Wonder when average citizens will get fined or jailed cause a bird happens to die in their backyards?

Or when a stupid bird insists on fighting with his reflection in my window panes and decides to bang into it and commits birdicide?

Twana on October 1, 2011 at 4:39 PM

Obama needs to GO, and GO NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!

capejasmine on October 1, 2011 at 5:22 PM

I guess U.S. Attorney Timothy Purdon is just “following orders”. How do these guys sleep at night? Enjoy the fascism.

gitarfan on October 1, 2011 at 5:28 PM

Will I get banned if I say that I hat@ bho and his whole stinken team for what they are doing to our Republic? 28 vs 400,000 and WHO gets the feds after them? The evil nasty make money to fuel our nation oil companies! NOT the hand full of bho’s select businesses!
L

letget on October 1, 2011 at 3:49 PM

Only if I get banned for pointing out that a Republican signed the EPA into existence. Thanks, President Nixon.

gryphon202 on October 1, 2011 at 8:26 PM

Windfarms are also massive kill zones for bats.

Anyway my cat killed more than 28 birds last year and he doesn’t power anything.

batterup on October 1, 2011 at 11:19 PM

This is the most corrupt administration that I have ever seen.

sadatoni on October 2, 2011 at 4:51 AM

When does the DOJ start to go after the REAL BIRD KILLERS? (Hint: millions own them)

Rovin on October 2, 2011 at 12:02 PM

Anyway my cat killed more than 28 birds last year and he doesn’t power anything.

batterup on October 1, 2011 at 11:19 PM

So you’re just fattening him up to eat him, then?

Also also, I’d really like to know (like in the lazy, someone else tell me so I don’t have to look it up way) who on earth looks for 28 dead birds and brings the complaint. Do we pay Federal employees to do this, too?

TexasDan on October 2, 2011 at 8:33 PM

Be careful driving folks! Hit a duck – go to jail.

DamnCat on October 3, 2011 at 4:42 PM