Animal advocacy group claims North Salt Lake oil refineries causing harm to wildlife

Posted at 10:52 PM, Aug 06, 2013

NORTH SALT LAKE -- An animal advocacy group claims oil refineries in North Salt Lake are responsible for singed feathers and dead birds in the area.

“It a death sentence,” said Buz Marthaler, chairman the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah.

Marthaler released pictures of birds whose feathers were singed.  He said the images show injured raptors brought in after being burnt by the high flames seen at the oil refineries in the area.

"Seems like every single year over the last 4 to 5 we've gotten at least one bird,” Marthaler said. “All raptors had their feathers singed by high intense heat and they're all coming from, based on rescuers, from the North Salt Lake refinery area."

Mike Astin, the Environmental Manager at Holly Frontier says this is news to them.

They've never heard of their flares, which act as a safety device to relieve built up pressure, causing harm to wildlife.

"I've never found singed ones -- periodically we'll find a piece of a pigeon or a wing," Astin said.

Astin said an eagle has lived at the refinery for more than a decade.

"The staff knows to stay away from that area because he'll swoop down at you, scare you away," he said.

Still the Wildlife Rehab Center is hoping something is done to stop the winged fouls from getting hurt.

The rehab center hasn't reached out to any of the North Salt Lake refineries to address their concerns.

"We wouldn't even know where to begin," Marthaler said.