North Dakota Oil, Green Energy, and Endangered Birds

This recent WSJ piece on domestic oil drilling and energy policy is a real eye-opener. And the double-standard on subsidies and endangered birds is disturbing.

Oh, and see how the EPA’s fraudulent accounting looks at “mileage” for electric cars.

The Weekend Interview with Harold Hamm: How North Dakota Became Saudi Arabia – WSJ.com: “When it was Mr. Hamm’s turn to talk briefly with President Obama, “I told him of the revolution in the oil and gas industry and how we have the capacity to produce enough oil to enable America to replace OPEC. I wanted to make sure he knew about this.” The president’s reaction? “He turned to me and said, ‘Oil and gas will be important for the next few years. But we need to go on to green and alternative energy. [Energy] Secretary [Steven] Chu has assured me that within five years, we can have a battery developed that will make a car with the equivalent of 130 miles per gallon.’” Mr. Hamm holds his head in his hands and says, “Even if you believed that, why would you want to stop oil and gas development? It was pretty disappointing.”

A few months ago the Obama Justice Department brought charges against Continental and six other oil companies in North Dakota for causing the death of 28 migratory birds, in violation of the Migratory Bird Act. Continental’s crime was killing one bird “the size of a sparrow” in its oil pits. The charges carry criminal penalties of up to six months in jail. “It’s not even a rare bird. There’re jillions of them,” he explains. He says that “people in North Dakota are really outraged by these legal actions,” which he views as “completely discriminatory” because the feds have rarely if ever prosecuted the Obama administration’s beloved wind industry, which kills hundreds of thousands of birds each year.

Mr. Hamm believes that if Mr. Obama truly wants more job creation, he should study North Dakota, the state with the lowest unemployment rate in the nation at 3.5%. He swears that number is overstated: “We can’t find any unemployed people up there. The state has 18,000 unfilled jobs,” Mr. Hamm insists. “And these are jobs that pay $60,000 to $80,000 a year.” The economy is expanding so fast that North Dakota has a housing shortage. Thanks to the oil boom—Continental pays more than $50 million in state taxes a year—the state has a budget surplus and is considering ending income and property taxes. It’s hard to disagree with Mr. Hamm’s assessment that Barack Obama has the energy story in America wrong. The government floods green energy—a niche market that supplies 2.5% of our energy needs—with billions of dollars of subsidies a year.”

And bird deaths for “green” energy?

Legal Double Standard: Oil Companies Get Indicted for Bird Deaths While Wind Companies Get a Pass: The graphic video above shows a magnificent eagle getting killed by a wind turbine. According to a 2009 estimate from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (reported on the American Bird Conservancy website here), those bird fatalities happen more than 1,200 times every day (440,000 deaths annually and 50 deaths every single hour of the day on average). For the millions of documented wind-related bird fatalities that have taken place in recent years, how many wind companies have been prosecuted? None – they get a pass. In contrast, 28 migratory birds (including ducks) allegedly died after landing by mistake in oil waste pits in western North Dakota between May 20 and June 11, and seven oil companies are being charged by the U.S. attorney for North Dakota for violating the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Some very unseemly business.

A Bird-Brained Prosecution – WSJ.com: The Obama Administration’s hostility to oil and gas exploration is well known, but last week it took an especially fowl turn. The U.S. Attorney for North Dakota hauled seven oil and natural gas companies into federal court for killing 28 migratory birds that were found dead near oil waste lagoons. You may not be surprised to learn that the Administration isn’t prosecuting wind companies for similar offenses.