January 30, 2020

Van Hollen Rebukes Administration’s Proposed Rollback of Protections for Migratory Birds

Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) released the following statement in response to the Department of Interior’s (DOI) proposed rollback of protections for migratory birds. The proposed rule would undermine a longstanding interpretation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) that holds companies responsible for oil spills that kill migratory birds. Under DOI’s new legal opinion, companies responsible for non-intentional oil spills would no longer have to pay penalties for the massive loss of bird life under the MBTA. Senator Van Hollen has repeatedly pressed DOI on this issue, including in a letter to Acting Secretary David Bernhardt and in questioning in an Environment and Public Works Committee hearing

“For decades, both Republican and Democratic Administrations have upheld protections for migratory birds under the MBTA. Today’s proposed rule would strip these protections and allow large companies to get off scot-free when oil spills and other commercial disasters cause the massive loss of bird life. Companies like Exxon and BP would have no responsibility to clean up – or answer for – the destruction they cause. This is unacceptable. I will look for ways for Congress to reverse this gift to big polluters.”