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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Double Standard?

There appears to be a double standard among federal law enforcers. Isn't that a surprise!

In August, Exxon Mobil pleaded guilty in federal count to killing 85 birds that had come into contact with crude oil or other pollutants in uncovered tanks or waste-water facilities on its properties. The birds were protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act which dates back to 1918.

Over the past two decades federal officials have brought hundreds of similar cases against energy companies. Recently PacifiCorp paid $1.4 million in fines and restitutions for killing 232 eagles in Wyoming over the past two years. The birds were electrocuted by poorly designed power lines.

I find it odd that there is one group of energy producers that is not being prosecuted (or persecuted) for killing birds. Wind-power companies are killing numbers of birds every year. A July 2008 study of the wind farm at Altamount Pass, CA estimated that its turbines kill an average of 80 golden eagles per year. This study, funded by the Alameda County Community Development Agency also estimated that about 10,000 birds, nearly all protected by the migratory bird act, are being killed every year at Altamont.

These turbines in California kill more than 100 times as many birds as Exxon's tanks every year, but this wind farm does not face the same threat of prosecution, even though the bird kills have been documented by biologists since the mid 1990's.

On its web site, the Wind Energy Association says that bird kills by wind turbines are a "very small fraction of those caused by other commonly accepted human(?) activities and structures - house cats kill an estimated one billion birds annually." That may be true, but it's hardly a good defense, and cats' doing what comes naturally to some is not a federal crime. Yet.

I leave it up to you. Is there a double standard here? Big oil companies get persecuted for killing birds while "green" energy companies are not.

I got this information from an article in the Tuesday, September 8 issue of The Wall Street Journal.

1 comment:

DayPhoto said...

And bats! Bats and birds! Go figure. Just like in everything, some are punished and others are the favorites so nothing ever really happens to them.

Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com