January 05, 2021

Van Hollen Rebukes Trump Administration’s Harmful Rollback of Migratory Bird Protections

Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) released the following statement in response to the finalization of the Department of Interior (DOI) rule weakening the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). Senator Van Hollen has repeatedly fought the Trump Administration’s DOI on this issue, including in a letter to then-Acting Secretary David Bernhardt and in questioning in an Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee hearing. In July, Senator Van Hollen and EPW Ranking Member Tom Carper led their colleagues in a letter to Secretary Bernhardt urging DOI to reverse course on implementing the MBTA rule change. In October, he led a letter with Carper and Senator Feinstein to Secretary Bernhardt urging him to rescind the proposed rule after the Southern District of New York ruled the 2017 M-Opinion, which the new rule is based on, to be unlawful.

“The historic environmental protections under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act have been upheld for nearly a century. The Trump Administration’s new rule renders these safeguards absolutely toothless, and means corporations would no longer be subject to penalties under this landmark environmental law for disasters like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. With this change, corporations can skirt accountability when they cause devastating disasters that wreak havoc on our ecosystems and kill massive amounts of bird life. Gutting this rule is a gift to Big Oil and other large corporations, including some of Secretary Bernhardt’s former lobbying clients. I am determined to work with the incoming Biden Administration to swiftly reverse this action and restore these vital conservation protections.”