Carper: Weakening of Migratory Bird Protections Is Needlessly Cruel and Legally Unsound

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, released the following statement on the Trump Administration’s proposal that would weaken the Migratory Bird Treaty Act by removing penalties for companies that incidentally kill birds.

“For over a century, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act has protected hundreds and hundreds of species of birds, rescuing scores of species from the brink of extinction. This senseless proposal would remove the federal protections that have undoubtedly saved the lives of countless birds.

“As climate change continues to threaten entire species of birds and their habitats, we ought to be thinking of ways we can better protect them. Beyond our moral, environmental and ecological imperatives to protect the lives of these birds, we have an economic imperative, as well. In Delaware, bird migrations through our coastal wetlands and beaches draw legions of tourists year after year. Instead, yet again, the Trump Administration is putting the interests of industry over the health of our planet and those we share it with.

“This proposal hinges on the administration’s warped legal interpretation of the century-old law, which stands on weak legal footing and in direct contradiction to Congressional intent. Every former top Department of Interior official since President Nixon’s administration vehemently opposed it. The fact of the matter is, this proposal is not just needlessly cruel—it breaks with every precedent of the law, too.  

“It’s deeply disappointing that the Trump Administration is continuing this misguided course despite the decades of broad, bipartisan support for enforcement of this bedrock conservation law. I urge the Department of Interior to reverse course and work with Members of Congress, the conservation community and the business community to chart a more responsible path forward.”