Oil & gas companies prosecuted for bird deaths … Wind turbine companies not so much

The US Attorney for the state of North Dakota took seven oil and gas companies to court charging them with killing 28 migratory birds.

This is actually a story from September last, but I thought it fit well with how the Obama administration treated the praying protesters at the fence as compared to Occupy DC. How you say? Can you find me a US Attorney representing the Obama administration who have taken any companies with wind farms to court for killing birds?

I really don’t know if they have, but as of September 29, the Wall Street Journal noted – in an opinion piece – they could find no federal prosecutions where the wind industry was hauled into court for violating the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

[T]his 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.

At the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area Northern California, some 5,000 wind turbines each year kill scores of golden and bald eagles, which are highly protected under federal law. There have been no federal prosecutions, though NextEra Energy Resources has agreed to purchase new turbines that are less likely to harm birds.

The wind industry is even seeking a formal legal waiver to shield it from the type of criminal or civil action that the oil companies now face. According to the September 13 draft of its new “Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines,” the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would give the wind industry “assurances” of law enforcement discretion if it adheres to certain safeguards and then inadvertently kills birds.

GOP candidate for president Newt Gingrich mentioned this legal action – with a few of the facts mixed up – on Fox News Sunday.


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Steve McGough

Steve's a part-time conservative blogger. Steve grew up in Connecticut and has lived in Washington, D.C. and the Bahamas. He resides in Connecticut, where he’s comfortable six months of the year.


  1. Shock and Awe on February 20, 2012 at 11:31 am

    makes me wanna go bird hunting just to shove it to the environmentalists…in the words of walter, “dumbasses”

  2. Dimsdale on February 20, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Something else for the ?bamaroids to ignore:? From Scientific American, “On a wing and low air: the surprising way wind turbines kill bats” (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=wind-turbines-kill-bats)

    “The full impact of these bat-killing pressure zones extends far beyond the wind farm, however. Such migrating bats travel from Canada as far as Mexico, eating thousands of insects en route, including crop pests such as moths and beetles. “They are one of the only things that fly around at night and eat bugs,” Baerwald notes. ‘Bats killed in Canada could have a detrimental impact in America or Mexico. It’s not local. It’s an ecosystem-wide issue.'”


  3. sammy22 on February 20, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Sounds like Conservatives might be against wind power. Time for a “save the bats” bumper sticker.

    • Dimsdale on February 20, 2012 at 8:25 pm

      LOL!? The only way wind power is going to make a significant contribution to our energy problems is if they channel the hot air coming out of Congress to a turbine!? 😉

    • GdavidH on February 20, 2012 at 8:38 pm

      Bipartisan breeze capture.

      Constitutional convection.

      ?Renewed meaning to?the “finger in the wind” analogy, or the ever popular “blowhard” label.???


  4. Tim-in-Alabama on February 21, 2012 at 4:39 am

    The members of the Administration who authorize these malicious prosecutions should be rolled around in tar sands, covered in feathers from wind turbine killed birds and run out of town.

  5. Lynn on February 21, 2012 at 8:00 am

    Newt for VP. He consistently brings up issues no one else does.? Block Island tested the wind turbines for 2 years and rejected them for their energy needs. Why? because they killed too many birds. Newt would be perfect to work as a VP to lock horns with Congress. He knows every issue and there are so many breaks in the Constitution caused by President Obama, we need him to bring us back to a democratic republic again.

    • johnboy111 on February 22, 2012 at 3:52 pm

      I think ya got something there..count on my vote

  6. PatRiot on February 21, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    And where are the environmentalists??? Kind of missing.? Like the National Organization of Women while Bill Clinton was being a bad boy.?
    Just to make things fair – “fracking” is poisoning ground water everywhere it is done.? And from DC – nothing !??except for the EPA?signing off on it as?a safe activity.?? HA !??And to think that one company refuses to tell what chemicals they use – HALIBURTON?
    Imagine that !??
    Don’t be fooled by party.? This is about money, not what is best for Americans.
    The Consitution and the originala idea of what America should be are right.? It is the fools in charge that have strayed.? And it is foolish to think that voting in November will resolve this problem.

  7. JBS on February 22, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    It’s all about money and who is the darling of the Regime. “Green” energy is the darling of the Regime, while “Big Oil” is its villain.?
    Just follow the money given out by our vaunted Department of Energy. It’s all about the Regime’s agenda and the Regime’s double standard.
    By the way, how many wind turbines and solar panels are on the WH?

  8. sammy22 on February 22, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    Pres. Carter put solar panels on the roof of the White House. Pres. Reagan took them down. Currently there are none on the roof.

    • Lynn on February 22, 2012 at 2:39 pm

      Sammy, that’s interesting do you know the reason why they were taken down. I am not being sarcastic, just wondering. I say this because President George W. Bush had the most energy efficient house (at his ranch) of any President. Actually it is one of the best of the best for almost every walk of life. It made VP Al Gore’s look like a Energy Hog in the kindest terms. So I guess Al did not walk the walk, but he got a Nobel Peace Prize ….go figure

    • Dimsdale on February 22, 2012 at 3:14 pm

      Wouldn’t have mattered much.? Even with the latest solar panels, their life span is 20-25 years.? Carter’s panels would have been coming up for their second replacement, at costs that would have negated any energy savings.? It is nice to try, though.

  9. Lynn on February 22, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    I guess President Obama only thought he’d get one term, as he has not replaced the solar panels, yet. Sorry Sammy, I haven’t conquered my mean gene yet. LOL

  10. JBS on February 22, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    It would be nice if he kept his word . . .
    Like he ever would! LOL!

  11. sammy22 on February 22, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    There is an interesting story on the fate of the White House solar panels in

    • Lynn on February 23, 2012 at 7:19 am

      Thanks I read it. I highly respect Scientific American and will trust that one man said they were working and asked why they were taken down. However, when I tried to get the second page, my server could not bring it up. I was hoping they might have interviewed someone from the White House staff who could have explained further why they were taken down.?
      I am a supporter of Solar technology, my brother-in-law has solar panels from the 80’s that still work for heating his water. They work well on sailboats as well. The issue to me is always, should the govt. subsidize these projects. I believe if they could work, there would be plenty of private investors to start these companies. Capitalism still works the best. Govt. investment is ripe with cronyism, graft and “creative bookkeeping”.

  12. sammy22 on February 23, 2012 at 11:20 am

    There is place for everything, even for “Govt. investment”. W/o Government “investment”, the US would not have had a space program w/ the consequent benefits in communications, computer development, medical advancements etc. You might still be dialing on a rotary phone instead of having an Iphone. And that is only one example.

    • Dimsdale on February 24, 2012 at 10:54 am

      I am sure that the space program contributed to solar panel development too.? There are several private companies that are starting their own space programs.? More power to them.

  13. sammy22 on February 24, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Dims, I don’t believe that any satellite or space probe has an extension cord to the earth to get power to do what it does. As to the private companies in “space programs”, I believe they are 50 years after the fact and benefiting from the advances of the “government programs”.

    • Dimsdale on February 27, 2012 at 11:23 am

      What are you talking about?? I was agreeing with you on the contributions of NASA to solar panel development, as it is the only source of power out there short of small nukes.?
      As for the private companies, of course they are benefiting from previous advances.? Of course, with that logic, you would have to say our own program benefited from the Soviets, as they got a guy up there first!? And you can’t talk about the benefits of space travel without believing that the private companies would similarly make discoveries out there, sans gov’t programs (although I am confident that the government will find a way to tax outer space, perhaps renting orbits?).
      Of course, in the end, the gov’t programs for space, men in space anyway, died a (hopefully) temporary death when ?bama killed the shuttle program.


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