The Trump administration made progress on Friday as it had long provided federal protection for the nation’s birds due to excuses from former federal officials and many scientists that billions of birds are likely to die as a result.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has published its opinion on the proposed withdrawal in the Federal Register. This is a final step, which means that the change, which severely limits federal authorities in initiating proceedings to destroy migratory birds, can be formalized within 30 days.
The Wildlife Service acknowledged in its findings that the rollback has a “negative” effect on many bird species covered by the Migratory Birds Act 1918, ranging from falcons and eagles to seabirds, storks, songbirds and sparrows.
This move will push back the federal prosecutor’s office for the deadly threats the migratory birds face to the industry – from electric shocks on power lines to wind turbines that knock them out of the air and oil fields where landing birds die in toxic water.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and recent studies, an estimated 450 to 1.1 billion of North America’s roughly 7 billion birds die each year.
The Trump Government maintains that the Act applies only to birds that have been intentionally killed or damaged and regulates this “clarifying” change. The change would “improve the consistency and effectiveness of implementation,” the Fish and Wildlife Service said.
The administration continued to push for the regulation of migratory birds, even when a federal judge in New York in August rejected the administration’s legal justification.
Two days after news outlets announced the defeat of President Donald Trump, Democrat Joe Biden, federal officials have tabled an amendment to the Bird Treaty to the White House, one of the last steps before adoption.
Trump “frantically pursued his policy of killing birds,” David Yarnold, president of the National Audubon Society, said in a statement on Friday. “Restoring the 100-year-old bedrock law should be a top conservation priority for the Biden-Harris Administration and Congress.”
Steve Holmer of the American Bird Conservancy said the change would accelerate the decline in bird populations that has swept across North America since the 1970s.
The implementation of the 1918 contract will have overwhelming consequences for the construction of commercial buildings, electrical transmission systems and other infrastructure, said Rachel Jones, vice president of the National Manufacturers Association.
Jones said Trump’s changes will be needed to ensure that bird law is not used “abusively”. This is a long-standing complaint from industry lawyers, despite federal officials claiming that they rarely prosecute.
This is part of the last-minute changes during the outgoing administration that will benefit the industry. Others would extend Arctic drilling, favor development over the protection of habitats for endangered species, and hinder future regulation of environmental and public health threats, including reversals.