Environmental Politics, Live, Think
Environews: Trump puts migratory birds at risk
Great Salt Lake migratory birds have less protection after the Trump Administration issued a radical re-interpretation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 that lets industry kill birds without penalty as long as they say they didn’t mean to. A Department of the Interior legal opinion issued in January concludes that the law is limited to hunting and poaching and doesn’t apply to “incidental take.” In other words, if birds happen to get killed by some activity that’s not specifically intended to kill birds, that’s okay.
A statement from the Western Energy Alliance (a pro-industry group) celebrated, commenting that under the narrow interpretation, industrial noise and habitat impacts couldn’t be stopped just because they impact birds.
In fact, the law specifies that it is unlawful to kill birds “by any means whatsoever…at any time or in any manner,” but the memo makes a clear statement that if industrial activities do kill birds, the Trump Administration won’t do anything to stop them.