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The PJ Tatler

by
Bridget Johnson

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May 28, 2014 - 5:26 pm

The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is questioning the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service about the agency’s decision to prosecute a tree-trimmer who accidentally knocked herons out of a tree.

Ernest Pulido is expected to face charges from the U.S. Attorney’s Office within a week for violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. He could face a maximum fine of $15,000 and six months in jail.

Pulido was hired by the U.S. Postal Service to prune trees May 3 outside an Oakland, Calif., branch, where postal officials were upset with birds pooping on mail trucks.

One branch that Pulido cut contained nesting black-crowned night herons, one of more than 1,000 species of birds protected under the act.

No birds were killed. Five were injured and taken to a bird rescue in Fairfield, where the facility said all would heal and be able to be returned to the wild. One bird suffered a fractured beak while the offers suffered bruises and scrapes. Pulido is currently paying for the birds’ care.

Even though nothing has indicated the tree-trimmer intentionally targeted the birds, Pulido is being referred for prosecution.

“The Committee is concerned that Mr. [Ernesto] Pulido is being subjected to an unfair and unnecessary prosecution because FWS is responding to public pressure to act but does not want to seek redress from a fellow federal agency, the U.S. Postal Service,” Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) wrote to Fish and Wildlife Director Daniel Ashe.

“During my time as Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, many agencies have failed to take action and the Justice Department has declined or failed to prosecute federal employees for offenses including: receiving thousands of dollars in impermissible gifts from lobbyists; watching pornography on government computers while on the job; operating private businesses from their offices; lying on official timecards for years; and spending outrageous sums of taxpayer dollars at Las Vegas conventions,” he wrote.

“When so many government workers are offered a pass, referring and prioritizing charges against a private citizen for incidental and relatively minor injuries to a non-endangered species – commissioned by a federal agency no less – appears nothing short of bureaucratic bullying.”

Issa’s letter noted the agency’s December decision to allow renewable energy producers lengthier permit periods under which they can “take” — kill, injure or disturb — bald and golden eagle populations.

By Fish and Wildlife’s own estimate, wind turbines cause a total of 33,000 bird deaths each year.

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
What's the penalty for killing five unborn children? Oh right.... only the stupid birds count.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (9)
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What color were the herons?
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
In the meantime the USDA has admitted to killing millions of birds by poisoning them. Remember all the "mystery" sightings of thousands of birds dropping out of the sky dead? Many of them were killed by the govt.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
It is apparent that we have far too many federal government employees as they seem to have nothing of importance to do. We need to either fire them (that's my preference) OR give them some TRUE WORK to do, such as tree trimming, mowing lawns, hosing down sidewalks. Their goal nowadays seems to be of one variety: harassment of honest, hard-working true Americans who keep the economic wheel in motion. I'm SICK of this Administration!

25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
The US Attorney's Office in the Northern District of California (San Francisco) is notorious for refusing to prosecute crimes by government employees, including crimes were a former federal employee stole tens of thousands of dollars of computers but the USAO declined despite a confession.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
If this guy had used a solar or wind powered chain saw he'd be good. But since he used filthy gasoline power . . .
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
What's the penalty for killing five unborn children? Oh right.... only the stupid birds count.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
This activity *must* be eliminated! A tree pruner is clearly increasing our CO2 burden with dead branches. Not at all like those noble windmills and solar plants that shred and incinerate eagles at will. Where is Rachal Carlson when we need her? While her DDT findings may be questionable, it is easy to see the body parts at the wind farms. Perhaps if the pruner had *killed* the birds like the Greens do it would have been ok.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wonder if the birds were illegal aliens too?

Just sayin'...
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, as they lacked "papers", in today's parlance they were at least "undocumented". And their interests apparently trump those of the citizen (the tree pruner).
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
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