Exxon Pleads Guilty to Killing Protected Birds

oiled bird photo

Image credit: marinephotobank/Flickr

The oil giant Exxon has agreed to pay $600,000 in fines for killing 85 protected birds. The dead birds--hawks, owls, and waterfowl--were evidently exposed to hydrocarbons at drilling facilities and waste water storage plants at a number of Exxon's natural gas operations across the Midwest. According to Greenwire,

The birds died from exposure to natural gas well reserve pits and waste water storage facilities at Exxon Mobil drilling and production facilities in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming between 2004 and 2009.
In addition to paying around $7,000 for each bird killed, Exxon has agreed to make corrective measures to its facilities in order to prevent future deaths from occurring. The oil company has stated that it's already spent an estimated $2.5 million on such efforts. From Greenwire:
"The environmental compliance plan that Exxon Mobil has agreed to in this multi-district plea agreement is an important step in protecting migratory birds in these five states," said John Cruden, acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division.
Exxon has also been used as an example for companies who might currently be in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act--an act that mandates preventative measures to protect migratory birds. And, for Exxon's part, the company has evidently been cooperative and willing to take corrective action.
"Exxon Mobil has worked with us and we commend them for that," Cruden said. "The company took steps to minimize risks to the birds when this was brought to their attention."

More on Exxon:
After Sabotaging Own Oil Wells, Exxon Faces $1 Billion in Fines
Exxon Profits Down a Massive 66% - Power of Passing Up the Pump

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