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Action Alert: Sign on in Defense of Migratory Birds

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) is under attack. We need to share our outrage with our Congressional delegation and implore them to take action.

The MBTA is a century-old law utilized by Republican and Democratic administrations to protect birds as they navigate the globe. The law has been consistently interpreted to hold individuals or organizations responsible if their actions harm migratory birds — even if those actions are not intentional.

Under the MBTA, for example, fines were levied following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 and the Exxon Valdez oil tanker wreck in 1989. The Act has been the tool that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has used to encourage industry to implement basic management practices to protect birds.

Now, under the Trump administration, MBTA violations will only be issued if the individual or organization acted purposefully to harm or kill migratory birds — rendering the Act nearly useless. Earlier this year, Maine Audubon signed on to a letter with National Audubon opposing the administration’s proposed gutting of the MBTA (Audubon has an excellent online resource on MBTA as well). Now that this “alternative interpretation” of the law is being implemented on the ground, we need Congress to act more than ever.

Please add your name below to our letter to Maine’s Congressional delegation imploring them to act in defense of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. They need to know that their constituents won’t stand for the dismantlement of one of our nation’s most important conservation laws.

Dear Senator Collins, Senator King, Representative Poliquin, and Representative Pingree:

We strongly urge you to defend the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), our nation’s best tool to encourage industry to take basic steps to protect birds.

This year, Maine Audubon and our 30,000 members and supporters celebrate the 100th anniversary of the MBTA. Utilized by Republication and Democratic administrations since 1918, the Act is credited with saving numerous species of birds from extinction. The Act incentivizes the adoption of common-sense practices that save birds’ lives, such as covering oil waste pits, and holds industry accountable when their actions result in the death of substantial numbers of birds. The MBTA, for example, provided for the restoration of habitat after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill off Louisiana in 2010.

The Department of the Interior has issued a new “interpretation” of the law, rendering the Act nearly useless. As a result of this new interpretation, egregious actors will not be held responsible for preventable bird deaths.

This is not acceptable. We urge you to uphold this vital safeguard and defend against any and all attacks on the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Please add your name and information below. Maine Audubon will hand-deliver this letter with all signatories to Maine’s Congressional representatives.