It will not surprise my readers the Donald Trump Administration has now even become determined to undermine regulations that were designed to support birds. Before we get into the weeds on this issue, or should I say nests, let me give a brief backstory.
The Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), passed in 1918, outlawed the “taking, possessing, importing, exporting, transporting, selling, purchasing or bartering” any migratory bird, as well as parts, eggs and nests of such protected birds unless granted a federal permit. For the sake of this post let me also add that the MBTA also issued oversight and accountability for companies whose operations may harm or endanger protected bird species.
But now the Trump administration wants to roll back some of the protections that have for many decades been considered sacrosanct. Under one of the proposed rule changes comes the phrasing that even with a first fast reading causes concern. The rules protecting migratory birds now will “only extend to conduct intentionally injuring birds”.
Companies that injure or kill formerly protected birds unintentionally would now not be liable for any penalty. This includes such activities as energy production and generation, from waste pits to towers to oil spills and wind turbines.
Today in my mail came the following Lexington column from the latest edition of The Economist. Because this article is protected behind a paywall, but I want my readers to be much more aware of this topic, I have scanned it and post it below.
The issue regarding birds is one that I just find galling. Call something a fetus and the entire judiciary can be turned inside out by the executive and legislative branches to protect it. But another living creature without such a handle can be hosed off of road bridges and the culprit can claim it was not intentional.
The lack of regard for biodiversity and the lusty way this Administration has worked 24/7 to upend regulations and reverse the science behind those regs is maddening. Not so long ago a man in my local community was reaching out for others to assist with the annual bird count, with the data being used to help track avian populations as the climate crisis worsens—oh–now I ticked off those rubes who can not grasp the science generated data to support that claim.
But such counts matter as it can be proved that since the 1970s America has suffered a loss in the bird population by about 1 million. Such a sobering statistic can also be used to underscore the destructive and pathetic manner in which this White House undertakes its role in the nation regarding a policy that impacts our feathered friends.
Read the great writing and bitter truth in this weeks’s Lexington, and be prepared to be pissed-off.