February 04, 2021

Van Hollen Statement on Biden Action to Delay and Review Trump Migratory Bird Rule

Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) released the following statement in support of the Biden Administration’s decision to delay and further review the Trump Administration’s Department of Interior (DOI) rule weakening the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). The rule would undermine a longstanding interpretation of the MBTA that holds companies responsible for oil spills that kill migratory birds.

“The Trump Administration was hell-bent on gutting the historic protections of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which have been upheld for nearly a century. Their rule would allow big corporations to skirt accountability when they cause devastating disasters – such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill – that wreak havoc on our ecosystems and kill massive amounts of bird life. Their efforts were a gift to Big Oil and other large corporations, and I’m glad to see President Biden take swift action to halt these changes. I will continue working with the Biden Administration to restore these vital conservation protections.”

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. Last July, Senator Van Hollen and EPW Chairman Tom Carper led their colleagues in a letter to Secretary Bernhardt urging DOI to reverse course on implementing the MBTA rule change. Following that, in October, he led a letter with Chairman 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.