SPY383.63+6.93 1.84%
DIA315.24+5.66 1.83%
IXIC12,920.15+196.68 1.55%

DJ Biden Administration Postpones Lifting Penalties for Accidental Killing of Migratory Birds

· 02/04/2021 16:12
By Timothy Puko

WASHINGTON -- The Biden administration said Thursday it will postpone implementing a measure approved in the final days of the Trump administration that would have removed criminal penalties for killing migratory birds, calling the decision misguided.

The measure lifting penalties was set to take effect this coming Monday. The Interior Department said Thursday it would put implementation on hold for at least three weeks while the agency takes public comments.

"The Migratory Bird Treaty Act is a bedrock environmental law critical to protecting migratory birds and restoring declining bird populations," Interior Department spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz said. "The Trump administration sought to overturn decades of bipartisan and international precedent in order to protect corporate polluters."

In seeking to end the criminal penalties, the Trump administration was responding to business groups, farmers and others who said criminal penalties were too harsh for accidental deaths.

Environmentalists argued that the penalties were needed to encourage farmers, power companies and others to take greater precautions to protect birds.

Since 1970, North America has lost more than a quarter of its bird population, nearly 3 billion birds, according to research published in the journal Science in October 2019. The National Audubon Society said it recently recorded six million fewer birds in its 121st annual Christmas Bird Count than the year prior, despite record participation from counters.

Mr. Biden ordered a review of the order lifting penalties on his first day in office, as one of 103 Trump-era environmental rule changes to be reconsidered.

Write to Timothy Puko at tim.puko@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 04, 2021 16:12 ET (21:12 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.