Cotter Corp. to pay $30,000 for Canyon City bird deaths |

Cotter Corp. to pay $30,000 for Canyon City bird deaths

DENVER (AP) ” Cotter Corp. has been ordered to pay $30,000 in the poisoning deaths of about 40 geese and ducks harmed by a kerosene spill at its uranium mill near Canon City in 2005.

The company pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court to a misdemeanor violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which punishes the killing of certain birds without a license.

Due to an employee error, about 4,500 gallons of the organic solvent was released from the mill Oct. 21, 2005, and flowed into a catchment pond where several birds were exposed, the Department of Justice and Cotter said.

Cotter called federal wildlife officials after spotting sick birds and removed the solvent within a few days, said John Hamrick, vice president of milling for Cotter.

Under a plea agreement, Magistrate Kathleen Tafoya sentenced the company to pay a fine of $15,000, make restitution of $15,000 and be placed on a year of probation. Cotter also agreed to implement a plan to prevent future spills and ensure a speedy response if there is another spill.

“It was an isolated incident,” Hamrick said Thursday.

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