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From the June 2015 Birding Community E-bulletin:


Last month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced its intent to strengthen implementation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), one of the country's oldest and most important wildlife conservation laws. This proposed rulemaking is intended to ensure that MBTA protections are extended to address various approaches to "incidental take," specifically, threats to migratory birds from oil pits, power lines, communications towers, and other pervasive hazards.

Today, uncovered oil waste pits trap and kill birds, gas flares lure and incinerate birds, and unprotected communication towers and power lines kill and electrocute birds by the tens of millions annually. 

The official Notice of Intent was published in the Federal Register on Tuesday, May 26, which initiates a 60-day public comment period. There should be many opportunities to weigh in, including scoping meetings this month and next. Final comments are due by 27 July. Details on the proposed rulemaking and the ways to make comments are available from the Federal Register, reproduced here: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-05-26/pdf/2015-12666.pdf


The Migratory Bird Treaty Act, ratified by Congress in 1918, helped bring an end to a number of major threats to birds in the early 20th century, such as uncontrolled market hunting and the devastating plume trade. Today, the MBTA is awaiting appropriate legislative improvements to address some of the 21st century's bird protection problems. 

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