It didn’t take long for the American Bird Conservancy to gloat in a press release that an Energy Company has plead guilty in the death of some birds. According to the press release the company was fined $30,000 in addition to being forced to implement mitigation measures that would costs hundreds of thousands of dollars.
American Bird Conservancy’s spokesman, Darin Schroeder had this to say, “What you hope for is that others in the energy industries see that there are consequences to carelessly killing birds in the course of doing business and they take steps to properly mitigate potential deadly operational activities before law enforcement has to step in. The Department of Justice and the US Fish and Wildlife Service saw that the law was being ignored and did the right thing.”
This high-minded tribute to justice falls flat when one realizes how blatantly discriminatory these enforcement measures truly are. Wind farms are notoriously far more lethal to birds than oil companies, but to my knowledge, a wind farm has never had to pay fines in relation to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Meanwhile traditional energy companies and utilities are regularly targeted.
While this double standard is reprehensible on many levels, the final paragraph of the American Bird Conservancy’s press release tells you all you need to know about this practice:
Pursuant to the provisions of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the plea agreement in this case, the $22,500 fine will be directed to the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund for work directly benefitting migratory birds in Montana, Wyoming, and Nebraska. The $7,500 community service payment will be made to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, a private, non-profit, organization, established by Congress in 1984 and dedicated to the conservation of fish, wildlife and plants and the habitat on which they depend.
The Migratory Bird Treaty Act is really just a legally sanctioned means for environmental organizations to shakedown American industries and their consumers to fund their activities. While the wind industry’s money is just as green as the oil industry’s it is clear that these shakedowns are motivated more by brazen politics than by a just and equal application of law. If we are really going to force consumers to pay more for energy, we should at least have the proceeds from the fines go towards reducing our deficit instead of perpetually funding the environmental movement and the federal agencies that enable them.