The Trump administration has proposed a new regulation on protecting migratory birds. This is a drastic pullback from policies that were in place for the past 100 years.
What We Know:
- This rollback will primarily benefit the fossil fuel industry, power companies, and major developers.
- The proposed rule from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seeks to codify a December 2017 legal opinion by Daniel Jorjani, the Interior Department’s top lawyer and a former adviser of fossil fuel moguls Charles and David Koch.
- According to The Huffington Post, Federal wildlife officials have already been treating that guidance as the established rule, essentially legalizing all unintentional migratory bird deaths, including those caused by oil rigs, power lines, and wind turbines. The change meant that the 100-year-old Migratory Bird Treaty Act solely prohibits the intentional hunting, capturing, or killing of bird species.
- “Migratory bird conservation is an integral part of the agency’s mission, but stressed that regulations have left the agency in a legal quagmire that doesn’t benefit our conservation objectives,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director, Aurelia Skipwith.
- The proposal, she said, “ensures hunting remains a benefit rather than a detriment to bird populations” and that “private industry, which are critical to our nation’s economy and overall well-being, can operate without the fear and uncertainty that the unintentional consequences of their actions will be prosecuted.”
- The 1918 law protects over 1,000 species of migratory birds, including eagles, cranes, terns, sandpipers, and geese. It prohibits hunting, capturing, or killing without proper permits, with misdemeanor violations of the law resulting in as many as six months in prison and fines of up to $15,000.
Today, we know much more than early conservationists did about the value of birds. Healthy bird populations pollinate crops and help plants grow.