Birds and oil production in ND

October 16, 2012

Mitt Romney was correct in noting that federal prosecutors sought criminal charges over a handful of migratory birds that died in the Bakken oil field. He neglected to mention that one of his major contributors, who advises his on energy issues, runs one of the companies targeted by federal officials.

“What was the cost, 20 or 25 birds were killed?” Romney asked, comparing that to the value of the oil-rich Bakken Formation.

Continental Resources chief executive Harold Hamm successfully fought charges than his company and six other firms were responsible for causing the deaths of 28 migratory birds that landed in waste pits from drilling activities.

Hamm has hosted a fundraiser for Romney and donated $985,000 to Restore Our Future, a super PAC backing Romney’s candidacy. A federal judge tossed out the charges in January, saying the birds’ deaths were an “incidental or unintended effect” of oil production.

Juliet Eilperin is a White House correspondent for The Washington Post, covering domestic and foreign policy as well as the culture of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. She is the author of two books—one on sharks, and another on Congress, not to be confused with each other—and has worked for the Post since 1998.
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Tom Hamburger · October 16, 2012