National environmental groups today filed a lawsuit in the southern borough of New York against the Trump administration’s final bird killing rule: the reinterpretation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which provides long-term, vital protection for more than 1,000 species of waterfowl and birds of prey was eliminated and songbirds.
“We are back in court to combat the Trump administration’s persistent decision to remove migratory bird protection,” said Jamie Rappaport Clark, President and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife. “Although a federal court has already ruled that the government’s reinterpretation of the MBTA is illegal, it has pushed through rulemaking to translate these destructive policies into law. We are here to overturn this terrible decision once and for all. ”
Seven environmental groups – the National Audubon Society, Natural Resources Defense Council, American Bird Conservancy, Center for Biodiversity, Wildlife Defenders, National Wildlife Federation, and Sierra Club – joined the lawsuit.
In addition, the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Washington filed a similar lawsuit in the same court on Tuesday.
According to the Trump administration’s revised interpretation, the law’s protection applies only to activities specifically designed to kill birds. So-called “accidental” recordings, regardless of their impact on bird populations or how predictable those effects are – for example, birds drowning in uncovered oil pits – are immune to legal enforcement.
“Trump’s tenure was a reign of terror on the environment, and his cruel insistence on destroying this centuries-old law is testament to his utter disregard for wildlife,” said Noah Greenwald, director of endangered species at the Center for Biodiversity. “The revised rule is nothing more than a gift to oil companies and other polluters that they can use to kill birds without legal consequences. The courts rightly stopped this farce before, and we hope this latest suit fully restores legal protection for birds in dire need of it. ”
Had the Trump administration’s bird killing rule gone into effect at the time of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, British Petroleum would have avoided paying more than $ 100 million in fines to help protect wetlands and migratory birds, and more than a million birds to compensate it was estimated that the accident was killed.
“Trump’s withdrawal from protecting migratory birds is a horrific and inexcusable gift to corporate polluters who want no consequences for the killing of birds,” said Bonnie Rice, endangered species representative at the Sierra Club. “Two thirds of North American birds are threatened by climate change. More than three billion birds have disappeared since 1970. We need more protection, not less, in the face of this massive loss and the current man-made extinction crisis. “
The Trump administration began its attack on the migratory bird treaty law in December 2017 with a legal opinion prepared by Home Office attorney Daniel Jorjani, former Koch Industries employee. This opinion has already enabled bird deaths across the country that could easily have been avoided. In May 2018, the center and its allies filed a lawsuit in the southern borough of New York to challenge the proposed revision, which resulted in a violent court ruling overturning the opinion.
Disregarding the court ruling that invalidated the basis for the reinterpretation, the Trump administration continued to set the rule on Jan. 4, along with a number of other last-minute actions aimed at clearing a number of key environmental laws and regulations to withdraw.
Thanks to Defenders of Wildlife for sharing this news.
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