The Biden administration has reversed Trump-era rules that allow companies to kill migratory birds without consequences. In the final month of Trump’s presidency, an interpretation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) allows for accidental killing of birds. This means that fossil fuel companies and other industries will not be held responsible for bird deaths caused by their actions.
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To protect birdBiden administration officials intervened to delay interpretation taking place by reopening it for public comment. Now, there are alternatives.
Interpretation is adopted by The Trump administration was first used by Daniel Jorjani in December 2017. Jorjani, a leading attorney at the Ministry of the Interior, gave an explanation that protects companies from fines in the case of inadvertent killing. settlement. In his interpretation of the MBTA, he argued that the law is intended only to protect species from being hunted, captured, or killed on purpose. Despite the fact that Jorjani’s argument was rejected by a federal court, the Trump administration continued to approve it.
Proponents of the Trump administration’s interpretation argue that it is intended to provide certainty to the rule of law. The director of the Fish and Wildlife Service at the time, Aurelia Skipwith, said the regulations were in place to industry players may “operate without fear and with no certainty that the unintentional consequences of their actions will be prosecuted.”
Although most people expect the Biden administration to refute this interpretation, Interior Ministry spokesperson Tyler Cherry added that, “The ministry will also reconsider its interpretation of the MBTA to develop goals. generic standards can be protected migratory birds and provide certainty to the industry ”.
The law is over 100 years old making it illegal to catch, kill or hunt migratory birds without a permit. Although the law does not clearly state that inadvertent killing will result in a penalty, the government has previously used the law to sanction actions by companies that lead to the death of birds, such as 2010 BP oil spill If a new interpretation is to be issued, the government should seek to give clarity while still protect birds migrate from reckless actions.
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