Congress is considering several disturbing measures that attack basic bird protections, including H.R. 493, a bill that would undercut two cornerstone bird conservation laws — the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. H.R. 493 would force the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to grant 30-year permits for taking or killing eagles, a policy that the National Audubon Society strongly opposes.
It also would undermine the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, a law responsible for ending the plume hunters’ slaughter of egrets and other birds to adorn women’s hats. H.R. 493 would exempt industrial activities that kill birds (like oil waste pits) on the grounds that there is no “intent” to kills birds through these activities.
Auduboners should urge their U.S. senators and representatives to oppose this bill or any bill that weakens bird conservation laws. You can find your federal elected officials at www.house.gov or www.senate.gov.
Here are some points you could make:
- The Endangered Species Act, the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act are responsible for ensuring that birds are a healthy part of our natural world.
- Today there are so many more threats to birds, like vanishing habitat and climate change.
- Removing key protections afforded by these laws goes in the wrong direction and will only drive more birds to possible extinction.
- Birds are important indicators of the health of our environment. They provide economic value as insect-eaters, pollinators and seed-spreaders. They also contribute to a multi-billion dollar recreational industry, including birdwatching.