Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Adaptive Management is Always Too Late- Oil & Gas Industry Impacts Wildlife

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducted an inspection of heater-treaters in Colorado in May, 2006.  Dozens of birds were found during the inspection, indicating a wide spread problem related to oil field equipment.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement has determined that oil field heater-treaters on oil and gas leases create a wide spread, yet easily preventable, environmental hazard posed to migratory birds in the United States.  In partnership with Colorado Oil and Gas Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are asking the oil and gas industry in Colorado to modify their oil field heater-treaters to prevent the taking of migratory birds.

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, as amended, implements various treaties and conventions between the U.S. and other countries for the protection of migratory birds.  Under the Act, taking, killing, capturing, or possessing migratory birds, whether intentionally or unintentionally, is unlawful.  Birds protected under the act include all common songbirds, waterfowl, shorebirds, hawks, owls, eagles, ravens, crows, swifts, martins, swallows, and others, including the body parts (feathers, plumes, etc,) nests, and eggs of any such birds.

Enforcement actions regarding heater-treaters will be suspended until March 1, 2007, to give industry time to modify their equipment.  After March 1, 2007, responsible parties that contribute to migratory bird deaths in heater-treaters will be subject to criminal prosecution that can range up to a $15,000 fine and 6 months imprisonment per violation.

For more information, please contact:

             U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (720) 981-2777

             Colorado Oil and Gas Commission (303) 894-2100

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