Industry can put a feather in its cap, relieved of reprisal for the scores of migratory birds killed every year by its activities. President Trump’s Department of the Interior has reversed decades of legal precedent that held industry accountable when violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), one of the nation’s first conservation laws. The reversal was announced in a DOI memo written by Deputy Solicitor Daniel Jorjani, longtime adviser to energy mogul Charles Koch. The MBTA, which celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2018, has been an instrumental tool in ensuring that companies take standard precautions to prevent bird deaths, including covering tar pits and conducting environmental surveys around wind turbines. After the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the MBTA was the primary driver in holding BP criminally accountable for killing over a million birds. With over 1,000 species protected by the MBTA, the new policy would allow companies to kill birds with almost total immunity. We’re sure the Koch brothers love the sound of that tune.
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