Migratory Bird Treaty Act Again Under Siege

Hawk Mountain opposes changes that gut protections

Posted on January 12, 2021 in General

Bald Eagle by Bill Moses
Bald eagle soars over Hawk Mountain. Photo by Bill Moses.

A critically important law on the books for more than 100 years to protect America’s migratory birds was gutted last week by a new Department of Interior regulation reinterpreting the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) to allow incidental killing of birds without consequence. The new regulation, finalized less than a month before the change in Administrations, not only likely will result in tens of thousands of more migratory bird deaths each year, but also will eliminate millions of dollars of private sector funding annually to mitigate habitat loss and other harm to raptors, including hawks, eagles, owls and other birds of prey.

For example, under the new rule, environmental disasters like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which killed millions of migratory birds, would go unpunished under the MBTA.

As the world’s first refuge for birds of prey, the birthplace of raptor conservation science, and one of the Nation’s oldest and most respected international center for raptor conservation, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Association urges Congress immediately to enact a joint resolution of disapproval of the new regulation, pursuant to the Congressional Review Act. Nullification of the new rule under the Congressional Review Act will expedite restoration of long-standing protections of migratory birds and prevent future regulatory efforts to erode the MBTA.