Update: Follow-up information to the report was sent to the police yesterday. The text in the case has been updated.
On 18/1-2021, the Norwegian Environmental Protection Association filed a police report against Fosen Vind DA for tampering with evidence and theft of a protected bird of prey.
The background was a newspaper notice in Adresseavisen the same day, where it emerged that Fosen Vind DA has delivered turbine-killed birds to a waste collection point. In addition to the fact that this is a direct violation of the law, this has several unfortunate aspects. Not least, this tells quite a lot about Fosen Vind's lack of respect for business morals and ethics, and for respect for the environmental consequences of its own plant.
- White-tailed eagles are protected game and the property of the state at the Wildlife Fund. «You can either keep the carcass yourself, in which case an application must be made, or you can deliver it to institutions that have the right to receive such birds. There are museums or NINA.» This has not been done or followed by Fosen Vind DA. Thus, this is simple theft of state property.
- By avoiding protected game that is killed as a direct consequence of one's own activities (wind power), one avoids important information and figures from the authorities. This is clear embezzlement of evidence/tampering with evidence where the motive can apparently look like a deliberate act with the intention of hiding the environmental impacts of one's own business.
Fosen Vind DA (Shared Responsibility) is owned by three companies, two of which have public ownership, Statkraft and Trønderenergi. This makes the violations of the law, the lack of business ethics, ethics and environmental responsibility in relation to the operation of the wind power plant, and the handling and embezzlement of state property extra serious.
In the notification, NMF requests that Fosen vind DA be punished according to one or more of the following provisions:
- Game Regulations § 8-3
- Section 56 of the Game Act
- § 75 of the Natural Diversity Act
- Criminal Code §§ 27, 160, 240, 321, 322, 324 or 325
Comparable case from 2010
Here is another case from 2010 which shows that at this time private individuals should receive a minimum of NOK 17,000 in fines for embezzlement and theft of wild game/from the Game Fund.
Since 2010, there has been a lot of inflation, which means that the fine for private individuals today, in 2021, should at least be twice as high. It will appear very strange if private individuals are fined for this type of crime, and not professional businesses.
For Fosen wind DA, which must be considered a professional operator, one must expect a greater degree of professionalism than what can be expected from a private person.
In order to ensure that in the future the wind power industry does not embezzle birds such as eagles, ruffed grouse and the endemic Norwegian species ruffed grouse from the Viltfondet, it may be appropriate that Fosen wind DA receive a minimum fine of NOK 100,000 per dead bird that is not delivered to the correct recipient. The fine per dead bird should not under any circumstances be lower than what a private person would have been fined for a similar offence.
Alternatively, the Game Regulations § 8-3, the Game Act § 56, the Natural Diversity Act § 75 and the Criminal Code §§ 27, 160, 240, 321, 322, 324 or 325 also open up other appropriate sanctions for those who own and operate Fosen wind DA.
That society provides a punitive response to this relationship is very important, not least as a general preventive measure. The Attorney General points this out in particular in his latest priority letter for 2020, that serious environmental crime should be prioritized. Furthermore, he states in the prioritization letter that:
«Selv om prioriteringene her gjelder alvorlig miljøkriminalitet, vil riksadvokaten understreke at saker som i seg selv ikke fremstår som alvorlig alene, kan måtte prioriteres fordi konsekvensene er store i et nasjonalt perspektiv.»The Attorney General - Prioritization circular for 2020
Her er det svært viktig at denne saken gis prioritet da det ved manglende straffereaksjon lett kan dannes presedens for at det for fremtiden «er fritt frem» å forsyne seg av statens eiendom. It will also be very unfortunate if society punishes and fines private individuals while large and resourceful companies are automatically exempted from liability under the same laws. It must also be pointed out that several vulnerable and protected species fetch high prices on the illegal market, and a lack of criminal reaction in this case could also act as a legitimization of this type of crime.