Date: 5/25/18 1:05 pm
From: Madeleine Linck <madeleine.linck...>
Subject: [MASSBIRD] Fwd: [mou-net] Multi-org Lawsuits Seek to Restore Federal Protections for Birds with MBTA
Of concern to all birders

Forwarded from a Minnesota bird list serve.
Madeleine Linck

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Gordon Andersson <gpandersson...>
Date: Fri, May 25, 2018, 1:39 PM
Subject: [mou-net] Multi-org Lawsuits Seek to Restore Federal Protections
for Birds with MBTA
To: <MOU-NET...>

Bird lovers and advocates

National Audubon Socy is joined by ABC/CBD/NRDC/DoW/NWF in a lawsuit to
continue protections from "incidental take" under the Migratory Bird Treaty
Act. The Dept of Interior issued a new legal opinion in December 2017 that
removes the application of this law to power lines, wind turbines,
communication towers, oil ponds, and even the effects of oil spills (e.g.
BP Deep Horizon). 2018 is the 100 year anniversary of the MBTA. Since
1918, it has been the most important regulation for protecting birds from
deliberate harm and killing, and from death from encounters with the
industrial environment,

PS This press msg is from Center for Bio Diversity (with link). I removed
the contact info from the reps of the different conservation orgs, but I
left their descriptions at the bottom.

G Andersson

St Paul

member MOU Conservation Comte

Subject: Press Release: Lawsuits Seek to Restore Federal Protections for
Migratory Birds

For Immediate Release, May 24, 2018


Steve Holmer, American Bird Conservancy
Noah Greenwald, Center for Biological Diversity,

Gwen Dobbs, Defenders of Wildlife,
Jim Murphy, National Wildlife Federation,
Lisa Hardaway, National Audubon Society,
Josh Mogerman, Natural Resources Defense Council,

Lawsuits Seek to Restore Federal Protections for Migratory Birds

WASHINGTON— A coalition of national environmental groups today filed
litigation in the Southern District of New York challenging the Trump
administration’s move to eliminate longstanding protections for waterfowl,
raptors and songbirds under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA).

Groups filing the litigation — National Audubon Society v. Department of
the Interior —included the American Bird Conservancy, Center for Biological
Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, National Audubon Society, National
Wildlife Federation and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

In a legal opinion issued December 2017<>,
the Trump 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 Trump 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 Trump 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

“The new policy makes it much harder to protect birds from major bird traps
— threats like oil pits, wind turbines and communication towers in bird
migration hotspots,” said Mike Parr, President of American Bird
Conservancy. “Leaving these threats unattended is like leaving manhole
covers off along the sidewalk during rush hour — it’s negligent,
irresponsible and guaranteed to cause harm.”

“The Trump administration's rollback of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act is an
absolute disaster for America's birds,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered
species director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Many bird species
are already declining from habitat destruction and a host of other threats.
This rule will allow the death of even more birds, whether they're landing
on polluted ponds left uncovered by the oil and gas industry or have their
nest trees cut down from underneath them. It's tragic.”

“For 100 years, the United States has committed with other nations to
protect migratory birds through international treaties and laws. The Trump
administration’s meddling with the Migratory Bird Treaty Act threatens to
reverse decades of progress to conserve birds that are essential to
ecosystems, economies and our enjoyment of nature. On the centennial of
this important law, we will do everything we can to protect migratory birds
that are defenseless against the reckless actions taken by this
administration,” said Jamie Rappaport Clark, CEO and President of Defenders
of Wildlife.

“One of the first conservation laws, the MBTA sparked 100 years of
conservation leadership in this country,” said Sarah Greenberger, senior
vice president of conservation policy for the National Audubon Society. “It
defies all facts for the Department of the Interior to suggest that this
law is somehow broken when we have a century of evidence that says

“We cannot let Secretary Zinke add one of the oldest and most important
laws for birds to his list of anti-environmental giveaways, especially when
birds are in critical need of protection. Drastically slashing the reach of
the MBTA and removing accountability for preventable bird deaths is
unacceptable,” said Katie Umekubo, Natural Resources Defense Council,
senior attorney, nature program.

American Bird Conservancy is dedicated to conserving birds and their
habitats throughout the Americas. With an emphasis on achieving results and
working in partnership, we take on the greatest problems facing birds
today, innovating and building on rapid advancements in science to halt
extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats and build capacity for
bird conservation.

Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals
and plants in their natural communities. With over 1.8 million members and
activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative
solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For
more information, visit and follow us on Twitter

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation
organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists
dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today
and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using, science,
advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature
centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that
reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse
communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization
since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife
thrive. Learn more how to help at<>
and follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @audubonsociety.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit
environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online
activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental
specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public
health, and the environment. Visit us at<>
and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.​

The National Wildlife Federation<>
is America's largest conservation organization, uniting all Americans to
ensure wildlife thrive in a rapidly changing world. Follow us on Facebook<>,
and Instagram<

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