Last month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that it would revoke the controversial Trump-era rule that changed the enforcement of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to no longer apply to incidental take (which was originally set to go into effect on Feb. 8.)
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reopened the public comment period for an 30 days and today the Ornithological Council submitted comments on the rule, drawing on previous comments submitted by the OC in response to the scoping notice in February 2020, the draft environmental impact statement in July 2020, and the first re-opening of the public comment period in February 2021. The comments stressed the inadequacy of the environmental analysis performed on the rule and encouraged the agency to revert to the previous interpretation of the MBTA.
The final rule has also been the subject of litigation, after a court in August 2020 struck down the internal Interior memo on which the new rule is based. The Trump administration had indicated its intent to appeal that case but in February the Biden administration withdrew its appeal. In January, environmental groups filed suit asking the federal court to strike down the new rule. A group of states also banded together to file a similar lawsuit.
Read the OC’s comments.