Wildlife officials stunned and outraged after the Trump administration guts the Migratory Bird Act

Hooded Warbler

Donald Trump and his Republican allies are turning over every element of our government and governance to lobbyists and big industry. A Big Pharma executive put in charge of Health and Human Services, an anti-public school billionaire crusader in charge of the nation’s public schools and on and on. In another big gift to big polluters, the Trump administration has rolled back elements of the 1918 Migratory Bird Act that have been in place for nearly 50 years and is credited with helping hundreds of species survive and thrive since then. They’ve “re-interpreted” parts of the Act to help their pollution-pumping friends. From Audubon:

In December, the Department of the Interior released an interpretation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act that eliminates its ability to hold industries accountable for bird deaths. Reversing decades of practice by administrations under both political parties, this legal opinion drastically limits the law and puts hundreds of species of birds at greater risk.

This attack on the Migratory Bird Treaty Act comes at a time when we are celebrating the Year of the Bird, honoring the one-hundredth anniversary of this visionary law. Passed in 1918 with leadership from Audubon and chapters across the nation, the MBTA protects nearly all of our country’s native birds from being killed without a permit.

For decades, the law has been applied to protect birds from industrial impacts as well. Millions of birds die from preventable causes such as oil waste pits, oil spills, electric transmission lines, and more. The MBTA provides a critical incentive for industries to implement common sense practices that save birds’ lives. It also ensures that responsible parties are held accountable for events that kill significant numbers of birds. For instance, if this interpretation had been in place after the Gulf oil spill, BP would have been off the hook for killing one million birds and would not have been required to pay a $100 million fine that is helping restore bird habitat. 02-06-18

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