Another Trump victim: Migratory birds – Jacques Leslie

A flock of geese take flight at Lost Lake on the San Joaquin River in Fresno, Calif. on October 2, 2015. (Los Angeles Times)

By Jacques Leslie    Feb 14, 2018 | 4:05 AM

On the eve of the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, one of the nation’s bedrock environmental laws, the Trump administration delivered a churlish anniversary present: It gutted the law.

Three days before Christmas, the U.S. Interior Department quietly issued a reinterpretation of the law, effective immediately. It freed private interests — most notably, energy companies — from criminal prosecutions and fines for the deaths of migratory birds killed by industrial practices.

The opinion is such an outlier that 17 former high-ranking government conservation officials, representing both parties, sent a letter⁠ to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke denouncing it as a “new, contrived legal standard that creates a huge loophole in the MBTA, allowing companies to engage in activities that routinely kill migratory birds.” Signers of the letter included five of the six living former U.S. Fish and Wildlife directors and seven of the eight former migratory bird management chiefs who served under Presidents Nixon through Obama.

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act has provided the foundation⁠ of federal protection for birds in the United States since it was enacted in 1918.

…(read more).

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