Oil company to plead guilty in ND bird death

AP News
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Posted: Oct 26, 2011 6:24 PM
Oil company to plead guilty in ND bird death

A company has agreed to plead guilty and pay a $1,500 fine for killing a bird during drilling operations in western North Dakota.

Fidelity Exploration & Production Co., of Denver, was charged under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act for the death of a solitary sandpiper found in a company waste pit. The plea deal was filed in federal court Wednesday and must be approved by a judge.

Companies in North Dakota are required to cover the pits with netting if they are open for more than 90 days after drilling operations. Birds can mistake the pits for a good place to land.

Fidelity is a unit of MDU Resources Group Inc. A spokesman for the Bismarck-based company said it has accepted responsibility and would work to improve its drilling practices.