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Oil-Covered Owls Prompt Investigation Of ‘Neglected’ Oil Field Site

Close-up of a Pump Jack

The discovery of two barn oils coated in oil has prompted an investigation of a “neglected” oil field site in northwest Oklahoma.

Both owls died, the Enid News & Eagle reported Tuesday.

“Both of the owls have succumbed to the oil they ingested. Neither one made it, unfortunately,” the birds’ caretaker Jean Neal said. “I’m sorry about that, we really, really tried.” She said the second owl died late Saturday afternoon. “It was just heartbreaking. It’s just even hard to talk about them,” she said. Neal had said Friday that the first owl had died.

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission and state Department of Wildlife Conservation are investigating a site near the Major and Garfield County lines. Inspectors found several other dead birds floating in a saltwater tank at the site, the paper reports:

A preliminary report, compiled by an Oklahoma Corporation Commission oil and gas field inspector, noted there was oil on the ground around the tank and in several other areas inside the dike. Rig anchors were not marked, and there were no Oklahoma Tax Commission numbers on the storage tanks or the meter house, the report stated.

Federal rules require saltwater tanks to be covered. The site also lacked required signage, according to the preliminary inspection report, so it’s unclear at this time who is responsible for the tanks.


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