Trump Administration Finalizes Rule Rolling Back Protections For Migratory Birds
According to The Hill, President Donald Trump’s Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has finalized a rule that rolls back protections for migratory birds.
The new rule changes the implementation of the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) so that companies are no longer penalized for accidentally or incidentally harming or killing these birds.
The MBTA has protected more than 1,000 different species of birds for more than 100 years by punishing companies whose projects cause them harm.
The Trump administration has argued, however, that companies should only be punished for intentionally killing the animals, though it has admitted that relaxing these rules may cause companies not to carry out best practices that limit incidental bird deaths.
On Tuesday, an unpublished version of the rule became available online, according to the report, but the final rule will not be posted officially until Thursday.
Environmental groups and Democrats criticized the new rule on Tuesday.
"The Trump Administration’s new rule renders these safeguards absolutely toothless, and means corporations would no longer be subject to penalties under this landmark environmental law for disasters like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill," said Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) in a statement.
"Corporations can skirt accountability when they cause devastating disasters that wreak havoc on our ecosystems and kill massive amounts of bird life," he added. "I am determined to work with the incoming Biden Administration to swiftly reverse this action and restore these vital conservation protections.”