Harold Hamm: Birds Prosecution Is Proof Obama Administration Is “Out To Get” Oil
The absurd prosecution of seven oil companies over twenty-eight dead birds in North Dakota – some of the companies for a single bird and by a US Attorney appointed by President Obama straight off the Democrat National Committee no less – has drawn all manner of criticism locally, and earned a great deal of national attention as well.
Today Stephen Moore published a profile of Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm, and while the entire piece is worth a read for anyone interested in oil development in North Dakota, the mention of this case was interesting. Hamm had some choice words for those pursuing the case, saying it was proof the Obama administration is “out to get” oil.
A few months ago the Obama Justice Department brought charges against Continental and six other oil companies in North Dakota for causing the death of 28 migratory birds, in violation of the Migratory Bird Act. Continental’s crime was killing one bird “the size of a sparrow” in its oil pits. The charges carry criminal penalties of up to six months in jail. “It’s not even a rare bird. There’re jillions of them,” he explains. He says that “people in North Dakota are really outraged by these legal actions,” which he views as “completely discriminatory” because the feds have rarely if ever prosecuted the Obama administration’s beloved wind industry, which kills hundreds of thousands of birds each year.
Continental pleaded not guilty to the charges last week in federal court. For Mr. Hamm the whole incident is tantamount to harassment. “This shouldn’t happen in America,” he says. To him the case is further proof that Washington “is out to get us.”
Now, some might say that of course Hamm, whose company is a defendant in this case, is going to say that the charges are unfounded and politically motivated. But let’s review the facts in the case.
The prosecutor, one Tim Purdon, is a long-time Democrat party operative and leader appointed by a President that has been unfriendly, if not outright hostile, to the development of fossil fuels in America. The prosecutor’s wife has also lobbied for environmental issues in the past.
The case itself, against Continental Resources specifically, relates to a single dead bird that’s not particularly rare and whose population in North America is far from in jeopardy.
These companies are being prosecuted over a very small number of dead birds despite wind mills across the country slaughtering hundreds of thousands of birds annually.
Reasonable people want reasonable protections for the environment. So is it not reasonable to question the prosecution of an oil company by a politically-appointed US Attorney with a long background of partisanship, appointed by a President with a clear agenda against oil developers, over a single dead bird when wind power companies (which are popular with the in-power President) which kill far more birds get no prosecution at all?
Setting aside the politics of energy and environmentalism, what about the question of equitable application of the law?
If Continental Resources is to be charged with a crime for a single dead bird then every single wind power company with a wind turbine that has killed a bird (not to mention every trucking company with a truck that has killed a bird and every airline with a plane that has killed a bird) should be in court too.
We wont’ do that, of course, because it would be absurd. And so are the charges against these oil companies.Tags: harold hamm, North Dakota News, tim purdon, war on oil