“Wildlife groups and industry are closely watching fast-moving legislation slated for markup Wednesday that would amend a landmark law to protect migratory birds.
In its first markup of 2020, the House Natural Resources Committee will consider H.R. 5552, introduced last week by California Democratic Rep. Alan Lowenthal, along with nine other less controversial bills related to public lands, tribes and veterans.
The “Migratory Bird Protection Act” would ensure that protections under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 apply to the “incidental” take of more than 800 species of migratory birds, despite the Trump administration's recent efforts to reinterpret the statute.
The bill was prompted by a December 2017 Interior solicitor legal opinion that concluded the law, signed by President Wilson, only covered the intentional taking of a bird. “Take” is defined as harassing, harming or killing an animal.”