Trump administration moves ahead on gutting bird protections
Ah, longstanding federal protection for the nation's birds is being gutted by the Trump administration, with former federal officials and scientists saying billions more birds will likely die because of this move. You hear more about it Case CBS News anchor Jennifer Hunt has spoke with Richard Frank, professor of environmental practice and director of the California Environmental Law and Policy Center at UC Davis. What protections were in place for these birds. And what does that have to do with the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act? Well. Congress passed that law in 1918 over a century ago, basically the implement treaties that the United States had initially with Canada and now Mexico, Japan and Russia to provide international protection and now domestic protection to migratory bird species. A wide variety and about 800 of such species are currently listed under federal law here in the United States. Some of the Trump administration says the action apply only to birds killed or harmed intentionally, and the Fish and Wildlife Service says the change would quote improve consistency and efficiency and enforcement. So what do they mean by this? Well, I think they're trying to reduce the scope of the traditional application of this statue, which is provided very important protection for a variety of migratory bird species. It would Reverse a policy that Republican and Democratic administrations have followed for at least a half century of including as violations of the statute industry activities whose practices have the effect of killing Wildlife and, uh, wildlife Biologist currently predict that this reduction in the scope of the law will will really cause about one half billion to over a billion birds. Additional bird deaths Per year. So is there any way of avoiding that? I mean, two opponents have the time any time at all in order to try and reverse it. Yes, sir. A three policy options that opponents of this regulatory initiative can pursue. They consume challenge the Trump Administration regulation. I understand that a number of organizations like the National Audubon Society Defenders of Wildlife. And perhaps joined by the state of California will suit to block the regulation. It's possible that Congress could intervene in January by invoking the Congressional Review Act and can nullify regulatory programs from the executive branch doesn't like and third and finally, of course, the incoming Brydon an administration could initiate its own rulemaking proceeding to reverse this new and in my view, ill advised policy of the Trump Administration, but that That is the alternative that would take the longest amount of time to implement. So tell our listeners in urine in your opinion, why it is ill advised. Well, the way it is well documented that the actions of a variety of regular regulatory industries like coal and gas industry, uh the electric utility line operators, telecommunication kennel communication towers, wind turbines cause devastate populations of these migratory. Bird populations, and there are a variety of existing well known technologies that can dramatically reduce or eliminate those those bird kills. And this regulation, of course, removes all incentives of members, the regulated community to adopt those needed and environmentally benign reforms. That's Richard Frank, professor of environmental practice and director of the California Environmental Law and Policy Center. At U C.