The National Audubon Society has assembled a coalition of more than 500 conservation groups and other organizations to defend the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which has protected North American birds for 100 years. Vashon Audubon is participating in this effort.
In November 2017, Rep. Liz Cheney introduced a measure to gut the MBTA as an amendment to H.R. 4239, a bill written to weaken environmental protections in order to facilitate oil and gas drilling. Soon after, the Office of the Solicitor within the Department of the Interior released an opinion saying it will no longer enforce the MBTA in cases of incidental bird deaths, effectively giving a blank check to industry to avoid gruesome and preventable bird deaths.
Congress passed the MBTA in 1918 in response to public outcry over the mass slaughter of birds. The law prohibits killing or harming America’s birds except under certain conditions, including managed hunting seasons for game species.
Today, this law protects birds from 21st-century threats by bringing together industry, government and conservation organizations to implement best-management practices. Commonsense solutions like covering oil pits and flagging transmission lines protect countless birds each year from otherwise needless deaths.
A top priority for Audubon this year is to make sure that no bills weakening the MBTA become law.