Obama Administration Applies Double Standard On Wildlife Protections

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North Dakotans were treated to an up-front and personal view of the federal government’s hypocrisy when it comes to protecting wildlife. Hyper-partisan North Dakota US Attorney Tim Purdon, appointed by President Obama to his position straight from the Democrat National Committee, attempted to prosecute a group of oil companies in the state over 24 dead common ducks found near oil drilling sites after a three month (!!!) investigation by the Fish and Wildlife Service.

These cases were laughed out of federal court, thankfully, but even more troubling than the federal government shaking down the energy industry for donations to federal wildlife funds (that’s where the revenue from fines ends up) is the double standard at play.

While even one dead duck is enough to land an oil company before a federal judge, wind companies kill thousands of birds protected under the Migratory Birds Treaty Act and the Eagle Protection Act with nary a prosecution. That’s true here in North Dakota, and the national media is waking up to the hypocrisy as well:

The wind sector has had an exemption from prosecution under two of America’s oldest wildlife-protection laws: the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Eagle Protection Act. A violation of either law could result in a fine up to $250,000 or two years imprisonment. To date, the Obama administration — following in the footsteps of the George W. Bush administration – has not prosecuted a single case against the wind industry. What they have done is gone after oil and natural gas providers for similar infractions.

“How does an industry kill more than 2,000 eagles and not be fined once?” Johns said. “It’s a head scratcher.”

It’s not a head scratcher. It’s what happens when the government picks winners and losers in the market. Wind power has “most favored” status from the government. They’re subsidized and promoted endlessly at taxpayer expense. Ergo, the government isn’t about to burden this already marginal industry by applying environmental laws equally to them.

So they create a double standard.

Those of us who are against government “investing” in economic development or emerging industries argue that doing so creates the potential for corruption. The government is supposed to be an impartial rule-maker in the economy, not the promoter of one industry over another. When the government gets in bed with a company, or an industry, what follows inevitably is rule-bending and perhaps even law-breaking in favor of that company/industry.

Which is exactly what we see going on now with wind.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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