WSJ: A Bird-Brained Prosecution

The Obama administration is prosecuting seven oil and gas companies for the deaths of 28 birds. But what about the wind industry?

The Wall Street Journal points out in an editorial this morning:

The Obama Administration’s hostility to oil and gas exploration is well known, but last week it took an especially fowl turn. The U.S. Attorney for North Dakota hauled seven oil and natural gas companies into federal court for killing 28 migratory birds that were found dead near oil waste lagoons…

Continental Resources is accused of violating the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act because “on or about May 6, 2011 in the District of North Dakota” the company “did take [kill] one Say’s Phoebe,” of the tyrant flycatcher bird family. Brigham Oil & Gas is accused of killing two Mallard ducks. The Class B misdemeanors carry fines of up to $15,000 for each dead bird and up to six months in prison…

Absurdity aside, this prosecution is all the more remarkable because the wind industry each year kills not 28 birds, or even a few hundred, but some 440,000, according to estimates by the American Bird Conservancy based on Fish and Wildlife Service data. Guess how many legal actions the Obama Administration has brought against wind turbine operators under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act? As far as we can tell, it’s zero.

And this isn’t the first time this has happened.

14 thoughts on “WSJ: A Bird-Brained Prosecution”

  1. The birds are only a minor concern. The real concern should be for the BATS! Where is the concern for the much more important creature killed by these turbines? They die in at least the same numbers as do birds, and probably even higher as bats only need to be near the spinning blades to be killed and not actually hit.

  2. Arthur, I saw nothing untoward in your remarks. On the other hand, I’m not a “regular,” more an “irregular,” so, what do I know?

  3. Thanks for the “advice”, as smug and crude as it is. I do not see where the “regulars” have the upper hand on anything, and this is a free and open forum for all kinds of opinions. As far as being late for the party, at least I have never fallen asleep and missed the boat!

    This EPA/Bird thing continues to smack of idiocy, and it deserves all the comments it gets!

  4. It’s not presumption of guilt. We’ve seen these articles hundreds of times with tens of thousands of recorded bird kills over the years.

    Now, having some birds killed IS inevitable. None of us are upset about that. However, the impunity that the wind industry has is shocking. The oil industry has to defend every dead bird that an agent finds on an industrial site. There are literal cases of companies doing pigeon autopsies to prove they weren’t killed by a vapor cloud, and this article, where the EPA fined a coal company hundreds of thousands for the deaths of a few birds. If the EPA had the same eagle eye on the wind industry, they wouldn’t be able to afford it.

    You’re late to the party my friend. Some things that regulars here know and accept don’t make it to the comments, which leads to skipping the outrage and disbelief and going straight to snarking and off-color jokes.


  5. If we look at the presented numbers for the birds whose demise were allegedly proven to be from windmills, and the money in fines advanced as a cause celebre, Then look at the Federal employment opportunities for the thousands of “Dead Bird Finders” the EPA would have to hire to achieve any kind of reduction in the national debt which then would be grossly offset by the cost of the “Dead Bird Finders” in wages and overhead. We would get all this just for the presumption of guilt with a dead bird. It looks like our thinking has really stripped some gears.

  6. Yeah, the cost of operating a windmill would “necessarily skyrocket.” What an unfortunate turn of events THAT would be. But, I would cowboy up and learn to live with it (translation: I’d celebrate.).

  7. You have plenty of lawyers in the states – why don’t some of them band together and Pro Bono bring a case against the tree huggers and their wind farms with the attendant visual pollution and bird murdering abilities – once this action got a bit of traction then the worm would certainly start to turn! (IMHO)

  8. Birds die of natural causes and fall from the sky. When they fall near anything of interest to noisy activists or irrationally frightened people, they say: “You see, the _______ (fill in what you wish) killed the bird! I had that happen near a radar installation with a seagull. It was months before that junk science hysteria quieted down.

  9. with numbers like 440,000 birds, the wind industry could make a dent in the national debt if they were fined $15,000 for each bird. It is like 6.6 TRILLION dollars in revenue. Hmm, interesting isn’t it? It would certainly bankrupt the industry.

  10. How many *people* die because we are “fluffer-nutters” about the enforcement of laws and regulations to protect human life? Clearly, we are the expendable species.

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