Congressman Lowenthal Blasts Interior Dept. Rule Rolling Back Migratory Bird Protections

January 30, 2020
Press Release

Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) today issued the following statement regarding the Department of the Interior release of a new rule which rolls back protections of migratory birds contained within the Migratory Bird Treaty Act:

“This rule, a radical reinterpretation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), is just the latest action by the Trump Administration to ensure the complete subordination of American environmental protections to the profits of corporate business interests. This action overturns decades of precedent established by administrations of both political parties, while at the same time undermining our pledged commitments to international treaties.

“Donald Trump, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have now made it clear that companies are no longer required to avoid incidental harm to birds. Companies will no longer be held liable for damages to birds when disasters, like oil spills, occur and now have less incentive to reduce harm to birds. The company behind the next oil spill will not be held liable for killing birds as was done after Exxon Valdez and BP’s Deepwater Horizon.

“The MBTA has been a critical tool for bird conservation for over 100 years, saving countless numbers of birds. The Trump Administration’s wrong-headed reinterpretation of the MBTA instead lets commercial interests off the hook when it comes to killing birds.

“To counter this attack on our environment, earlier this month I introduced the Migratory Bird Protection Act to specifically reverse this terrible decision and reaffirm and formalize the MBTA protections.”