Last month the E-bulletin focused on PacifiCorp, one of the largest electric utilities in the West, pleading guilty to unlawfully killing Golden Eagles and other raptors and migratory birds in Wyoming:http://www.refugene t.org/birding/ augSBC09. html#TOC07
This month it's ExxonMobil with connections to bird deaths in six states, again mostly in the West (i.e., Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, Oklahoma and Kansas).ExxonMobil, the world's largest publicly traded oil-and-gas company, pleaded guilty in federal court on August 13 to charges that it killed 85 protected birds, including hawks, owls, and waterfowl.
The company violated the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) in five states over the last five years. The discovered birds died from exposure to natural gas well reserve pits, oil tanks, and waste water storage facilities at Exxon Mobil drilling and production facilities.The company will pay $400,000 in fines and $200,000 in community service fees to waterfowl rehabilitation and preservation programs. ExxonMobil will also be placed on probation for three years and must implement a plan to minimize future bird deaths.
There are thousands of similar energy facilities across the West, including and beyond ExxonMobil. It is unknown how many bird deaths go undetectedThe $600,000 paid by ExxonMobil may seem substantial. Still, the amount is roughly equal to what the company makes in income in 20 minutes, based on their $8.6 billion earnings for the first half of 2009.