A Wall St. Journal story dated September 7, 2009, is about a subject of which I was completely unaware. It describes the double standard with respect to the enforcement of a federal law called the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The law makes it illegal to kill certain protected birds. Apparently the U.S. government cares more about who is doing the killing rather than if any birds are killed.
The reporter claims there is “One standard for oil companies, another for green energy sources.” Consider the following two examples of enforcement of the law against “big” energy offenders:
On Aug. 13, ExxonMobil pleaded guilty in federal court 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 company agreed to pay $600,000 in fines and fees.
In July . . . the Oregon-based electric utility PacifiCorp paid $1.4 million in fines and restitution for killing 232 eagles in Wyoming over the past two years. The birds were electrocuted by poorly-designed power lines.
There is one well-known green energy source that gets a free pass even though it kills tens of thousands of protected birds every year. Despite studies and evidence that windmills and birds do not mix, the Department of Justice has not gone after any windmill owners for violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
A July 2008 study of the wind farm at Altamont Pass, Calif., estimated that its turbines kill an average of 80 golden eagles per year. The 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 whacked every year at Altamont.
Another example of justice being blind, i.e., deaf, dumb and blind.