Statement of Alan Zibel, Research Director, Public Citizen’s Corporate Presidency Project
Note: The New York Times reported today that the U.S. Department of the Interior is expected to release a draft rule dropping the threat of punishment to energy companies that break a law protecting migratory birds. The expected proposal will give leeway to corporations to kill birds as long as they do so unintentionally. A former client of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, the Independent Petroleum Producers Association, specifically requested this action in a September 2017 letter to former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
When powerful corporate interests tell the Department of Interior to jump, officials there routinely ask “how high?” This particular giveaway is a direct request of a former client of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and proves once again that the Trump administration is intent on attacking conservation laws in every way possible.
If this rule had been in place at the time of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill, which killed more than one million birds, BP would not have had to pay $100 million in fines for violating federal laws that protect birds. Bernhardt has no interest in holding big energy companies accountable.