From David Yarnold, president and CEO of National Audubon Society
“The Trump Administration’s Bird Killer Department, formerly known as the Department of the Interior just gets crueler and more craven every day,” said David Yarnold, president and CEO of Audubon. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act ended the slaughter of birds that decimated Great Egrets and other species at the turn of the century and has continued to protect birds for decades.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is doubling down on its efforts to undermine our most important bird-protection law. The new proposal gives industries a free pass for bird deaths by exempting “incidental” bird deaths from enforcement. The proposed rule removes incentives for companies to adopt practices that protect birds from threats such as oil waste pits and eliminates MBTA penalties for companies that kill substantial numbers of birds, including from large oil spills such as Deepwater Horizon.
Please take action and ask others to do the same.
The Proposed Rule by Fish and Wildlife Service and Department of the Interior on 2/3/20
Regulations Governing Take of Migratory Birds:
(The link below will take you to the details at the Federal Register.)
You can submit your comments on the following:
- Take of Migratory Birds
- Migratory Bird Permits: Take of Migratory Birds; Environmental Impact Statement
Link to Submit Comments:
National Audubon Society Press Release (Jan. 30, 2020)
Sample Letter to the Editor: Migratory Bird Treaty Act rulemaking
Note: Newspapers often have individual guidelines on word counts for letters to the editor. We encourage you to check the guidelines of your local paper and adjust your letter to these limits, and localize any details where possible.
The Migratory Bird Treaty Act is our most important bird protection law. For 100 years, it has benefitted nearly all of the beloved birds in our community and across the country. Yet, the Trump administration just announced the most significant attack on bird protections in the law’s history.
The administration has just proposed to double down on its unprecedented legal opinion that gave a free pass for bird deaths caused by industrial activities, including major oil spills. If this policy were in effect after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, BP would have been off the hook for one million bird deaths and its $100 million fine to help birds recover from the spill.
This attack on bird protections comes at a time when birds are in serious trouble. A report from the National Audubon Society found that two-thirds of North America’s birds are threatened by climate change, and a study published in Science found that we’ve lost 3 billion birds on the continent since 1970, or 29% of the total bird population.
Instead of gutting the law, Congress should reinstate these protections for the birds that we all enjoy by passing the Migratory Bird Protection Act. I urge our elected officials to support this bill and oppose the rollback of the MBTA to protect the billions of birds that rely on this bedrock law.