Protection of Birds in Oil and Gas Operations


This practice note reviews regulations intended to protect birds, and uses Texas Rule 3.22 (16 Tex. Admin. Code § 3.22), Protection of Birds, as a model rule for the protection of migratory birds from danger and/or death around oil and gas operations. When birds interact with oil, the birds will usually die. There has long been an awareness that oil and gas operations can present a significant threat to birds, and thus regulation could be used to help protect birds. Rule 3.22 emphasizes the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (65 P.L. 186, 40 Stat. 755) from 1918 which provides federal-level penalties including fines and imprisonment for violators of its provisions. Texas requires that any tank or pit that can accumulate or be exposed to oil be netted or otherwise covered to protect birds.