News | January 12, 2021

Trump rule reverses decades of migratory bird protections

Days after the New Year and barely a week after the close of a public review period, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service put out a final rule to remove long-standing protections for migratory birds.

The agency’s rule seeks to cement an interpretation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act that would reverse decades of recognition that the act protects birds against incidental harm from industrial activities and other projects. As highlighted in SELC’s most recent comments to the service, the unlawful interpretation and corresponding environmental analyses suffer from a number of serious legal violations.

“Since our last round of comments, a federal court has confirmed that FWS’s proposal is illegal,” explains attorney Ramona McGee. “Instead of pausing its rulemaking in response to that court decision, the agency is rushing forward as fast as it can to strip needed protections for migratory birds. Our latest filing supplements our previously submitted—and largely unaddressed—concerns that the agency should have considered and responded to before issuing its final rule.”

SELC’s recent letter to the Fish and Wildlife Service was sent on behalf of 31 organizations in response to the agency’s final environmental impact statement. Click here to read it.

And to read SELC’s previous coverage on the proposed rule, click here.

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