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Cannons, laser, radars planned to keep birds from toxic pit

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HELENA, Mont. — After thousands of snow geese died in the toxic water of a former open-pit mine in Montana last fall, the companies responsible for the pit are bringing out the big guns. Literally.

Montana Resources and BP-owned Atlantic Richfield Co. are buying propane cannons triggered by long-range motion sensors as one additional measure to keep birds away from the Berkeley Pit during the spring migration.

Also in the plan are radars, air and water drones and strategically positioned lasers that would create a “net” across the pit and deter the birds from landing in the metal-laden water.

The plan is outlined in a memo submitted last month to federal environmental and wildlife officials. The companies are seeking approval to test the technologies during the spring migration season that began Wednesday.

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