|Former VP Cheney and Rep. Liz Cheney|
Another Cheney, Another Exploitation of Our Natural Resources.
It was Kenny Invergo who first opened my mind to the wonder of the annual migratory patterns of birds, especially raptors. He and the group of us often slept in a mud-spattered and frost-whitened van on the cascades of the Mississippi River in Jo Daviess County, Illinois, and crawled out of our blankets at dawn to check mist nets for foraging owls and the morning skies for hawks traveling south in the beginning cold of fall. Raptors were just one species of the thousand species flying high over our blind, but Ken kept a copious record of times, weights, band numbers, types, and descriptions of the many hawks he captured through the fall. For decades. Kenny passed away some time ago on his land overlooking the long valley running into the Mississippi Valley, his favorite creatures still making their instinctive travels overhead each fall.
“July 3rd marked the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. On that day in 1918, America’s most important bird protection law went into effect. Throughout 2018, we are celebrating this milestone as the Year of the Bird, yet at the same time, we (the Audubon Society) are defending the law in the face of unprecedented attacks, including by recently filing a lawsuit against the administration.
|The Great White Egret|
Because of the Migratory Bird Act, it is not legal to take or possess or export/transport or sell or barter migratory avian species in America. Nor is it legal to have or hold their physical parts, nests, or eggs except with a valid Federal permit providing an allowance to do so. Remember the Passenger pigeon? Gone. Remember the clamor for White Egret plumes for fashionable hats just after the First World War? Still around, because the same bird made it to 1918, and was saved under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
“A few weeks ago, in conjunction with other conservation groups including the Natural Resources Defense Council, Defenders of Wildlife, National Wildlife Federation, and others, Audubon filed litigation to challenge the administration’s interpretation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act that guts enforcement of the law. The policy reverses decades of precedent in the interpretation of the law by both Republican and Democratic administrations. The new interpretation allows all industrial activity to be exempted from the MBTA by only prohibiting deliberate acts, and letting off the hook bird deaths caused by hazards such as oil waste pits, oil spills, mining activity, power line electrocutions, and other threats. It drastically reduces the incentive for companies to adopt best practices that save birds from preventable harm, along with the ability to recover after events such as oil spills by applying fines under the law to habitat restoration.”
And, if you considered Scott Pruitt a danger to the environment? Don't feel too relieved. Enter stage Halliburton, Representative Liz Cheney – like father, like daughter.
According to Audubon:
“In reaction to a bird-killer amendment introduced today by Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY) and passed by the House Committee on Natural Resources, National Audubon Society President and CEO David Yarnold (@david_yarnold) said, “Rep. Cheney is giving oil and gas companies and other industries a free pass to kill birds with impunity. This amendment guts the most effective bird conservation law that has been on the books for a century, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Under Cheney’s amendment, companies would have no responsibility for bird deaths. We will engage our 1.2 plus million members to stop this and any other attack on the laws that save birds.”
Cheney introduced the measure as an amendment to H.R. 4239, a bill written to weaken environmental protections in order to facilitate oil and gas drilling. The amendment was approved in the committee mark-up, and the bill passed out of committee earlier today.
“The MBTA is one of Audubon’s earliest victories. Congress passed the MBTA in 1918 in response to public outcry over the mass slaughter of birds, which threatened egrets and other species with extirpation. The law prohibits killing or harming America’s birds except under certain conditions, including managed hunting seasons for game species. The law protects more than 1,000 bird species in part because industries implement commonsense best management practices like covering tar pits and marking transmission lines.
“Facts and figures on industrial causes of bird mortality in the United States:
· Power lines: Up to 175 million birds per year (Source: http://www.fs.fed.us/psw/publications/documents/psw_gtr191/Asilomar/pdfs/1051-1064.pdf)
· Communication towers: Up to 50 million birds per year (Source: http://www.fs.fed.us/psw/publications/documents/psw_gtr191/Asilomar/pdfs/1051-1064.pdf)
· Oil waste pits: 500,000 to 1 million birds per year (Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16988870)
· Gas flares: No reliable mortality estimates, but an infamous 2013 incident in Canada incinerated an estimated 7,500 birds (Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/7-500-songbirds-killed-at-canaport-gas-plant-in-saint-john-1.1857615)
“Audubon members can take action and urge their legislators to vote against any legislation that includes language weakening the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
“The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon's state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon's vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more how to help at www.audubon.organd follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @audubonsociety.
“Contact: Nicolas Gonzalez, email@example.com, (212) 979-3100.”