Restore the Migratory Bird Treaty Act
Final signature count: 26,224
Sponsor: The Animal Rescue Site
Reverse the Damage the Trump Administration has done to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act
Executive Branch decisions have all but neutralized the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in the last few years, despite a court ruling that its position is against the law and will increase preventable bird deaths. A final blow to the MBTA was dealt by a rule that allows companies and individuals to kill migratory birds as long as "they didn't mean to1."
Any industrial activities, including oil waste pits, oil spills, power lines, tailings ponds, and others, will now be exempt from the law1.
This rule comes at a time when scientists have raised alarm over the loss of 3 billion North American birds during the past 50 years. It would end enforcement against incidental take of birds--the predictable and preventable killing of birds by industrial practices--even though last summer a federal judge struck down the Interior Department legal opinion that the new rule seeks to codify2.
The MBTA covers more than 1,000 species, some which are already dwindling to the point of becoming endangered. This measure could lead to billions of bird deaths as they crash into power lines and buildings, or get trapped in oil pits3.
National Audubon Society President David Yarnold said the potential fallout from this decision is largely being ignored at an already trying time in U.S. history.
Birds are being harmed as nesting grounds are destroyed to make way for new developments. In Virginia, 25,000 shorebirds were displaced to make way for a road and tunnel project. State officials had ended conservation measures for the birds after federal officials advised such measures were voluntary under the new interpretation of the law3.
The National Audubon Society and chapters across the country helped pass this bird protection law in 1918. Since then, innumerable species have been saved from extinction. But climate change and habitat destruction have made it even harder to conserve North American bird species. Since 1970 more than 3 billion birds have disappeared, while two-thirds of our bird species are at risk of going extinct4.
Without the MBTA, we could lose many more birds, and if the Trump Administrations' changes to the MBTA are withheld, we surely will.
Sign the petition below and tell the Administrator of the EPA to restore the MBTA in full, reinstating penalties for companies and individuals who violate this important law.
- Andy McGlashen, Audubon Magazine (5 January 2021), "Trump to Birds: Drop Dead."
- Jordan Rutter, Steve Holmer, ABC Birds (5 January 2021), "Administration Makes Last-Gasp Assault On Migratory Bird Protections."
- Matthew Brown, Associated Press (5 June 2020), "Trump administration moves forward with plan to end wild bird protections."
- Elizabeth Pennisi, Science (19 September 2019), "Three billion North American birds have vanished since 1970, surveys show."
Dear, Aurelia Skipwith, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
Three billion North American birds have vanished since 1970 and many more will soon disappear forever if the Migratory Bird Treaty Act is not restored.
The Audubon Society and many others were responsible for writing the MBTA back in 1918. It's helped bring many birds back from the brink of extinction. Rule changes administered by the Trump Administration have rendered it ineffective, however.
Today, the penalties for killing birds through incidental take, primarily industrial activities including oil waste pits, oil spills, power lines, tailings ponds, and others, have been removed.
The MBTA covers more than 1,000 species, some which are already dwindling to the point of becoming endangered. The Trump Administration's rule changes could lead to billions more bird deaths as they crash into power lines and buildings, or get trapped in oil pits.
I demand you restore the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to its former glory and reinstate penalties for incidental take.