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    Oil company agrees to plead guilty in deaths of birds in North Dakota waste ponds, pay $12,000

    NewsEnvironment & Nature NewsWednesday 26 October 2011
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    One of seven oil companies charged with killing migratory birds during drilling operations in North Dakota has agreed to plead guilty and pay $12,000.

    Slawson Exploration Co. Inc., of Wichita, Kan., was charged under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act with for killing 12 birds that died after allegedly landing in oil waste pits in western North Dakota from May 6 through June 20. Under a plea agreement filed in federal court Monday, Slawson will pay $12,000 — or $1,000 per bird — to the nonprofit National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

    Six other oil companies have pleaded not guilty to charges that their oil waste pits killed birds. Killing endangered species can lead to felony charges that bring fines of up to $250,000.

    Companies in North Dakota are required to cover the so-called reserve pits with netting if they are open for more than 90 days after drilling operations. The waste pits, which can contain oil, diesel, drilling muds and chemicals, are about the size of a large swimming pool, and birds sometimes mistake them for a good place to land.

    Source: The Washington Post

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