March 09, 2021

Van Hollen Statement on Interior Action to Rescind Dangerous Trump-era Migratory Bird Policy Legal Opinion

Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) released the following statement applauding the Biden Administration’s decision to rescind the Trump Administration’s Department of Interior (DOI) legal opinion weakening the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). The legal opinion undermined a longstanding interpretation of the MBTA that holds companies responsible for oil spills that kill migratory birds and had been previously vacated by the courts. The Biden Administration DOI also announced they will soon proceed with a new rulemaking process that could strengthen the important provisions of the MBTA.

“Today, we can breathe a deep sigh of relief. Despite the Trump Administration’s efforts to gut the historic protections of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Biden Administration has officially rescinded their harmful legal opinion and instead announced a new effort to potentially strengthen this landmark law. This move will ensure big corporations are not able to skirt accountability when they cause devastating environmental disasters – such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill – that wreak havoc on our ecosystems and kill massive amounts of bird life. This is a huge win for environmental accountability and sends a clear message to Big Oil polluters.”