May 9, 2021

US Fish and Wildlife Service Restores Protections under Migratory Bird Treaty Act

US Fish and Wildlife Service Restores Protections under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act

On May 7, 2021 the US Fish and Wildlife Service issued a rule to formally withdraw the prior administration’s rollbacks to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act regulations. The rollbacks had removed well-established, bipartisan protections for migratory birds  — including revoking the incidental take protections. These protections needed to be restored. The public comment period closes in mid-June.

CWF had signed onto a letter submitted by NWF on March 1 urging withdrawal of the rollbacks. As stated in the letter,”The MBTA is a highly successful law that is more than a century old. It has provided longstanding protections for birds from avoidable hazards, including for game birds and birds hunted to the brink extinction for feathers. Reducing protections offered through the MBTA goes against decades of reasonable policies to improve bird conservation. The recently finalized regulation removes the law’s enforcement of all incidental take, and will no longer hold industries or any other actors accountable for incidental harms to birds. It eliminates penalties, and the legal responsibilities and liability for actions that kill a significant and alarming number of bird species each year. ”

We applaud the USFWS for taking this action.

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