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Exxon-Mobil must pay fines for killing birds

Exxon-Mobil must pay $600,000 in fines and community service payments as penalty for killing 85 birds, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ). After an investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the oil company pleaded guilty Aug. 13 to violating the 1918 federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which makes it illegal to kill a protected bird species.

Fumes released from Exxon drilling sites killed birds such as ducks, shorebirds and owls in five states, the DOJ said in a statement. Over the next three years, Exxon must also create a bird protection plan, according to the plea agreement. The company has already contributed $2.5 million to the plan.

"We are all responsible for protecting our wildlife, even the largest of corporations," said Colorado U.S. Attorney David M. Gaouette, in the Aug. 13 statement. "An important part of this case is the implementation of an environmental compliance plan that will help prevent future migratory bird deaths."

The agreement comes on the heels of another FWS investigation into western power company PacifiCorp, which pled guilty to killing more than 230 eagles, as well as numerous other birds. PacifiCorp must pay more than $10.5 million in fines for the bird deaths, which resulted from the creatures flying into power lines.

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Lauren Williamson

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