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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  • banjo kid

    More to the point is it is a method they choose and nothing can be wrong with it, nothing. If it is the way we do energy then nothing that it does could be doing anything illegal or wrong .

  • whowon

    Minnesota…Wind farm will seek permit to legally kill eagles. Bet they got it. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a division of the Interior Department, is considering loosening regulations on the killing of bald eagles, the national bird of the United States, to accommodate the development of wind energy sources.

    A draft regulation first filed in April would allow businesses to apply for 30-year permits allowing them to kill bald eagles in the course of other legal activities.

  • Carrick

    “How does an industry kill more than 2,000 eagles and not be fined once?”

    Seems that somebody’s critical thinking skills need tweaking. Does anybody seriously believe they’ve killed 2000 eagles?

    • zipity

      Are you playing stupid, or are you actually stupid…? My guess would be the latter of the two.

      Try one of them new fangled search engine thingy-ma-bobs. I did. The phrase “migratory birds killed by wind energy” came back with 5,170,000 results. One of the first 5 was an article in the famously right-wing NY Times. An excerpt of which states:

      “However, the rapid growth and expansion of wind farms has had an
      increasingly significant effect on birds and bats, especially since,
      according to the GSR, the average wind turbine size has increased. The
      American Bird Conservancy (ABC), an avian conservation group, observes
      that upward of 14 birds per megawatt of wind energy are killed each
      year, numbering more than 440,000. The organization projects the number
      will rise substantially as wind energy production increases.”

      Gotta believe at least 2,000 of that nearly HALF A MILLION killed per year would be eagles.

      • Carrick

        Lawlz!!! Thanks buddy, needed somebody to laugh at.

        There are these things that walk among us called … “facts”. Google can be your friend if you let it… It’s 2000 raptors per year not 2000 eagles, bonehead.

      • Carrick

        And even the 2000 raptors number is a gross extrapolation. had it been something you objected to, you’d immediately have asked “where did that number come from!?” Hence the comment about critical thinking.. which involves questions (drum roll) our own beliefs.

        zipity’s left-knee-reflex-like rhetorical response is healthy. That’s good. Objectivity, non existent.

      • Carrick

        Here’s recent data on eagles:

        http://nenmore.blogspot.com/2012/05/bald-eagles-safe-in-wind.html

        The other thing to remember is that eagle and bat mortality can be prevented by modification of existing wind turbines (e.g., passive sound emitters on the wind blade tips). Some locations are more likely than others (Altamont Pass Wind Farm) in terms of mortality.

        Obviously if people really cared about the issue, they’d lobby to get the wind turbines moved from areas that were causing high bird mortaltiy instead of reflexively jumping in on one side or the other to follow their party line’s current dogma.

        The truth is nobody on either side actually gives a f**k, it’s just another food throwing contest while the bus runs over the cliff.

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          I’m not actually ask that bothered these days about wind turbines killing birds. But if we’re going to prosecute oil companies let’s apply the same standard to wind companies.

          • Carrick

            That’d be my position too.. Look at the numbers from the nenmore blog link, most eagle deaths are from Altamount Pass (which ironically is in California) .

            I agree here–why is Altamount still allowed to operate and they are so worried about a few ducks? This is a travesty.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            Yeah, then problem is the double standard.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      I don’t know if they have our haven’t.

      I do know the legal double standard stinks.

    • http://flamemeister.com flamemeister

      Google up “wind turbines golden eagles” and decide for yourself based on information.

  • awfulorv

    If one looks at the record it would seem that we are a nation of non caring Bullies. We can’t kill those that have learned to walk apparently, but abort living babies in the womb, and call smothering them in their cribs, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. We write myriad laws to protect our 13% Black population from discrimination but, virtually, ignore the problems of our 1% Native Americans. We allow adult fiends to slaughter young girls for their sexual pleasure, then protest when these monsters are, legally, put to death for their crimes. Such a puzzlement…

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