Date: 5/25/18 11:21 am
From: 'Carolyn A. Marsh' <cmarshbird...> [ILbirds] <ILbirds-noreply...>
Subject: IBET No sighting: MBTA lawsuits
Lawsuits Seek to Restore Protections for Migratory Birds

WASHINGTON (May 24, 2018) A coalition of national environmental groups,
including American Bird Conservancy, Center for Biological Diversity,
Defenders of Wildlife, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife
Federation, and the Natural Resources Defense Council, today filed
litigation, National Audubon Society v. Department of the Interior, in the
Southern District of New York challenging the current Administration's move
to eliminate longstanding protections for waterfowl, raptors, and songbirds
under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA).




<https://url.emailprotection.link/?aVaORJh5In01qsxSSWe3EsXPqaeEGwGDcjNmyHFNF
4eEY9PBtYSaAiaTqgQTcQgH3bwP7HCYjZE5cG8SePgDkkA~~> In a legal opinion issued
December 2017, the Administration abruptly reversed decades of government
policy and practice - by both Democratic and Republican administrations - on
the implementation and enforcement of the MBTA.



The Act's prohibition on the killing or "taking" of migratory birds has long
been understood to extend to incidental take from industrial activities -
meaning unintentional but predictable and avoidable killing. Under the
Administration's revised interpretation, the MBTA's protections will apply
only to activities that purposefully kill birds Any "incidental" take - no
matter how inevitable or devastating the impact on birds - is now immune
from enforcement under the law.



The risk of liability under the MBTA has long provided the oil and gas
industry, wind energy development companies, and power transmission line
operators with an incentive to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
to minimize bird deaths. For example, in an effort to protect migratory
birds and bats and avoid potential MBTA liability, the wind industry,
conservation groups, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service worked to
develop comprehensive guidelines aimed to ensure best practices for siting
and developing wind farms. The Administration's new policy eliminates this
incentive for industries and individuals to minimize and mitigate
foreseeable impacts of their activities on migratory birds, putting
already-declining populations of our nation's songbirds and other migratory
birds at risk.



The MBTA also protects birds from fossil fuel development. Oil pits kill
hundreds of thousands of birds - if incidental take liability is eliminated,
industry need no longer take measures to protect birds from these hazards In
addition, when the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon disaster spilled more than 210
million gallons of oil in the Gulf of Mexico more than 1 million birds were
killed in the four years following the blowout. BP paid $100 million in
fines under the MBTA that supported wetland and migratory bird conservation.
The new interpretation would bar the federal government from seeking such
mitigation under the MBTA for devastating oil spills in the future.



(The American Bird Conservancy, Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders
of Wildlife and National Audubon Society are being represented in the
litigation by the public-interest law firm of Meyer Glitzenstein & Eubanks
LLP.)

To sign petition: https://abcbirds.org/action/petition-mbta

Contact: Lisa Hardaway, National Audubon Society, (212) 979-3000,
<mailto:<lhardaway...> <lhardaway...>

Steve Holmer, American Bird Conservancy, 202-888-7490,
<mailto:<sholmer...> <sholmer...>



Carolyn A. Marsh, Conservation Chair, Dunes-Calumet Audubon Society


 
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