Trump Administration Moves to Relax Rules Against Killing Birds

A proposed regulation would codify a legal opinion in 2017 that declared the accidental killing of birds during the course of business as no longer subject to punishment.

Comments: 178

  1. Two billion birds gone because of habitat loss, human-created dangers, climate change, and other factors. What planet is Trump on? Trump lives in a protected bubble from transport to indoor environments, and has no appreciation for nature, except for what he can extract from it for his and other's personal greed.

  2. @Birdygirl Bet you $100 bucks he starts an aviary to stock his golf courses. Who knew? Birds can be turned into something only elites get, too.

  3. A world with fewer birds is sad. Trump is making America and the whole world worse..

  4. @Jazzmandel "A world with fewer birds is sad" It is not fewer birds but the sixth mass extinction including amphibians, insects, arachnids, etc. You may want to read Elizabeth Kolbert's book The Sixth Extinction.

  5. What will Trump do next? Every day I see another terrible thoughtful thing. "This makes money. Do it" If birds cause problems they can die. At this rate, Trump and global warming will vacate our world in a very short time! Yes, we'll be making money, the stock market will boom, and there will be jobs picking up dead birds, polar bears, and anything that moves and causes loss of money. Ugh!

  6. Does he wake up every morning and think to himself "What can I do today that will make everyone angry and ruin our environment?" Sorry - that's presuming he thinks at all.

  7. @Stephanie It's not about Trump. This is the republican party as a whole at work.

  8. @Stephanie Does anyone else see Trump's hypocrisy in relation to birds? He apparently thinks that the oil and gas industry does not harm them but those nasty windmills do.

  9. I'm in my 80s and I can say that there seem to be a lot less birds today than in my youth. I'm sure that the widespread use of insecticides has reduced the insect populations, thereby reducing one of the food sources for some birds. That would have an effect on bird populations. But, that is not the same as outright killing birds by carelessness, especially, carelessness for profit.

  10. We can say goodbye to our crops that require pollination from bees, butterflies, birds, etc. All are in a steep death dive due to insecticides/pesticides and the downstream effects.

  11. @PS Actually, contrary to what we keep hearing, the population of honey bees is not declining. It is actually increasing from the low which was reached in the late 80s, and that low was caused by introduction of a bee parasite, the varroa mite. I keep bees myself, and I follow this closely. In Illinois, where I am, the state requires beekeepers to register with the state and they conduct a yearly census of the numbers of colonies. The 2019 report showed almost exactly twice the number of colonies as in 1999. So, to paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of the demise of honeybees are greatly exaggerated.

  12. @wklopf1 After a 50% decline. A 3% increase does not indicate an abundance of these vital insect partners. Context.

  13. A couple of quotes from the your IDOA’s website disproves your argument that honeybees are not in any danger. First “A lack of feral honeybees over the last several years has greatly increased the need for managed honeybees to be used for the pollination of plants” explains the increase in domesticated hives. They are necessary to make up for the loss of wild populations. And second “The Illinois Department of Agriculture is working with many partners to reduce honeybee exposure to various pesticides (herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, etc.). There have been some instances where honeybees have been exposed to these materials, at times with catastrophic impacts.”

  14. This administration sickens me.

  15. @Fromjersey Exactly, these policies will sicken you and your family. Who voted for this?

  16. @Fromjersey Literally

  17. @Robert FL Putin did.

  18. I guess the only remedy is state law. Let the red states continue to poison their environments and kill their wildlife. Just remember to lecture them about ‘personal responsibility’ when they come hat-in-hand to Uncle Sam to beg for remediation funds to clean up their state-wide brownfields.

  19. @Andy There is a sure-fire remedy coming in November, vote them out of office, and as far as the eunuched Senate is concerned, also in 2022 and 2024. It takes six years to clean house in the Senate.

  20. @Andy Problem is, most birds are migratory and know nothing of states.

  21. I am from NY and we did not vote for this administration and will not vote this time either. It is in the hands of mid-west and the south to ensure your wished result.

  22. This administration cares for nothing but money. They are putting our future in great peril by destroying our environment a little bit more each and every day. They have no regard for the future unless it involves money making plan. Our children’s future is effectively up for sale. I am 60 years old and remember the days when we became aware of our negative impact on the earth. I remember Lake Erie catching on fire from all of the pollutants. I also remember seeing pictures of LA so smoggy one could barely see. Environmental regulations helped us out of that mess and now we are destroying those safeguards. There may be no ‘coming back’ from many of the damaging events that will ensue once those regulations are gone. History will not look kindly upon this administration.

  23. It’s also the large houses, cars, meals etc in the past 30 years we consumers have supersizes and not held anyone accountable Maybe we can start now

  24. "The number of birds in the United States and Canada has declined by 3 billion, or 29 percent, over the past half-century, scientists find. The skies are emptying out." - NYTimes, 9.19.2019. The largest governments in the world, ours, China's, think only of economic growth. But that strategy has a terrible cost: the destruction of the natural world on which all all creatures, including humans, depend for survival.

  25. Why should a small handful of investors receive an addition to their stock value when it is all the US citizens who pay in the degradation of species diversity (and beauty) in their own country. The true ecological costs,including incidental costs of production of energy, to species should be levied against energy companies in the form of penalties. Stiff penalties that would discourage practices/technologies that lead to the death of wildlife.

  26. If we were an enlightened society, or even just educated and civilized, we would ensure that we were represented by people who respect and revere nature.

  27. I hate these Trumpers & all the damage they're doing to our democracy & our beautiful North American environment. VOTE BLUE NO MATTER WHO.

  28. Elections matter. They came to destroy. They'll poison the world for a few more dollars. Trump is only the figurehead of this evil, anti-life worldview.

  29. Could we perhaps come up with a generic headline to save time regarding this sort of trumpery. "Latest regulation requiring rollback by next legitimate administration."

  30. Trump has to go. Why he is bent on destroying the environment, poisoning our water, and fouling the air is a mystery best left to the psychoanalysts.

  31. This is crazy. Once again trump is taking something that works and he is destroying it. His supporters have to be either crazy or greedy or both.

  32. Trump has a list of all living things and is marking them off, one by one, to see how many he can exterminate and how quickly. What will he turn to once he manages to destroy all that lives and breathes? What's next on his list after birds? Trump is a gangster who revels in destruction and ruination simply for the sake of being made to feel strong and without equal.

  33. But those windmills! The avian carnage they cause!

  34. Wait, didn’t he say that windmills are bad because they kill birds? So he doesn’t care about the birds? ...Are windmills okay now?

  35. The many sweet little lovely birds I see every day each display more wisdom and empathy than these greedy corrupt ignorant uncaring fools ever will.

  36. Let's face it. We live in Mordor under this administration.

  37. @R Or the alternate 1985 in Back to the Future II. It's despicable!

  38. Just another stab in the ongoing rightwing onslaught on any and all laws that might get in the way of the elites making a buck. Up next: doing away with those pesky workplace safety rules. If an employer didn’t set out to intentionally maim or kill his workers, no harm, no foul. Contaminated hamberder kills hundreds? A recall would have lessened the business’ profits. How is that fair if they didn’t specifically intend to kill their customers?

  39. But wait ... Didn’t Trump rant against wind power because of all the birds he says are killed? Oh yes, that’s not the fossil fuel industry. Conflicting policies for different fuel Industries. This is beyond absurd.

  40. STOP!!!!!

  41. Oh, how I hate this administration and this president, Let me count the ways... @SBLewisSB

  42. Everything Trump touches dies!

  43. Is there nothing this nasty person will keep his hands off? He seems so stupid but keeps coming up with more nightmare plots than a room full of Hollywood horror story writers. Poison our water & air, destroy natural wonders, ruin the only planet we have.

  44. On December 16th, 2013, the NYTimes ran the following innocuous headline: "A Struggle to Balance Wind Energy With Wildlife" Within that article is the following quote: "a new federal rule was announced this month allowing wind farms to lawfully kill bald and golden eagles under 30-year permits" Today's headline is just more evidence of how literally everything is tilted in a "Trump Is Evil" framework. Today's anti-Trump headline is akin to the Dec 16th, 2013 article being headlined with: "Obama Administration Approves Killing Of Bald And Golden Eagles" Today's headline could have been the same as in 2013...but the NYTimes agenda is to frame Trump as an evil destroyer of the environment.....where as Obama was the Savior.

  45. @John because he is the “evil destroyer of the environment”. Wasn’t just it last week he announced removing burdensome clean air and water regulations making it easier for corporations to dump toxic waste in our water and pump poison into the air? Wasn’t it a few days after he was elected that he gave permission for big hunters to go kill more elephants and other endangered species because now they can bring their murdered trophies back to hang on their walls? He hasn’t met a living thing he doesn’t want to kill.

  46. @John You really want to equate Trump's savaging of the EPA with Obama's environmental record? Really?

  47. @John These are verifiably different situations as evidenced by this paragraph: The proposed regulation, if finalized, would cement a legal opinion that the Department of Interior issued in 2017. The agency’s top lawyer argued that previous administrations had interpreted the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 too broadly, and that only actions explicitly intended to kill birds should be forbidden under the federal law. The death of a bird from an oil slick, the blade of a wind turbine or the spraying of illegal pesticides would no longer trigger penalties. This was done so the very necessary task of introducing renewable energy would be balanced with the environmental issues that arise from it. Do enlighten me as to how Trump's policy change encourages alternative energy proliferation? It seems it just makes it easier for fossil fuel companies to kill birds with no oversight. Your double standards argument is easy to make if one is completely ignorant to nuance. Trump is a villain btw.

  48. Obama made it legal for every renewable energy company to kill 4200 bald eagles, with no questions asked. On January 17, 2017, a parting gift on Obama's last day in office. That is about 1/30 of the total number of bald eagles in the US. The normal penalty is up to a $500,000 fine and two years in prison for killing a bald eagle without permit. The bald eagles can be chopped by wind farms or roasted by thermal solar farms, like the one in Ivanpah, which had to stay its construction for years because it was roasting too many birds. No administration, before or after, can come close to allowing this kind of destruction of our national bird (which, by the way, is not killed by cats). https://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/renewable/wind/obama-allows-wind-turbines-legally-kill-eagles/

  49. @novoad So your argument is that Obama did it, so it is OK for Trump to do it as well? That is a flawed defense. One bad policy does not excuse another.

  50. @novoad Obama passed a huge number of pro-environmental regulations. In fact that is what the Trump Administration is undoing. Trump has either rescinded existing environmental protections or passed new environmentally harmful regulations. So don’t even begin to compare Obama’s environmental policies with Trump’s!

  51. Thank you for providing a link to support your assertion. Here’s a link that utterly refutes what you assert. https://www.thesolarnerd.com/blog/do-solar-panels-kill-birds/ Also, “Cats, both feral and domestic, are the biggest killer of birds by far. In fact, it’s not even close.” And here is the illustrious background of IER. “The IER is the successor organization to the Institute for Humane Studies of Texas, an advocacy group established in 1984 by billionaire businessman and political donor Charles Koch. After failing to pay the Texas state franchise tax, IHST lost its charter in 1989, and was later rebranded as the Institute for Energy Research, or IER, under the presidency of Robert L. Bradley Jr., the former director of public policy analysis for Enron.”

  52. The only consistency to the policies of this administration in regards to the environment is "scorched earth". I thought we had enough of such grifting under Reagan's James Watt.

  53. @John Warnock his administration is making James Watt look like an environmentalist.

  54. Just so long as these migratory birds get that their deaths are 'incidental' I'm sure they'll understand. I live along a Pacific migratory route, and can still see herons fishing, bald eagles soaring, and other amazing birds that depend on coastal estuaries for their survival. Just south of here, the Jordan Cove liquid natural gas pipeline application was withdrawn in the face of heated opposition. The message is that, even it the time of Trump, we can move to protect wildlife and our ecosystem. Yes it is far harder, but we can and must rise to the challenge. The most effective thing you can do on this front? get potential democrat voters to the polls in 2020.

  55. @C. Whiting I agree completely.

  56. @C. Whiting Please - it's "Democratic" voters. Don't adopt the far right's casual, if nonsensical, slur.

  57. No. Sadly, this does NOT make America Great.

  58. This nightmare of an “Administration” cannot end soon enough.

  59. We are already experiencing steep declines in bird numbers due to to pesticides and herbicides. Now this. This administration and, by extension, the Republican party will destroy the environment so long as oil and gas companies' shareholders profit from it and share that profit to ensure more policy and legislation. They all have their protected little ranches to enjoy while public lands continue to be degraded. What lives and what dies is a moral decision that isn't even part of the conservation in this greedy country. We, and wildlife first, are doomed if this continues. And for oil and gas companies to claim any type of victim hood is beyond disgusting. Their rapaciousness is endless. November's election needs to lead to much more than a change in political "leaders." We citizens need to be more engaged, more organized locally, improving what we care about. Spend less time being entertained and more shaping this country.

  60. @Flaco there is zero chance that this will be a free and fair election. None, nil.

  61. Oil, gas and other polluting industries don't kill a few birds here and there. In one instance a polluted lake was the historical resting place for migratory birds. In one year it killed tens of thousands of birds at one time. This "relaxation," or obliteration of a rule protecting birds is just another travesty from this administration.

  62. Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t one of Cheeto Jesus’s schticks at his comedy show/campaign rallies about how he objects to wind turbines because they kill birds?

  63. @Colonel Belvedere, in that case, killing birds is a metaphor for spoiling the view at his golf course, and causing cancer.

  64. "Mr. Dreher noted that codifying the opinion into regulation, as the Trump administration is trying to do, would make it harder for a future Democratic president to issue a quick reversal." If you voted for Trump (or any republican), or if you sat out the last election, this stain is on you.

  65. I'm stunned! Industry representatives view a regulatory issue as "burdensome."

  66. @Rusty Inman I suspect that the birds view lack of regulation a San even bigger burden.

  67. So losing 3 billion birds isn’t enough to satisfy the Greed of fossil fuels People we have to move on this it’s a travesty

  68. Nobody used DDT with the intent to push the bald eagle to the brink of extinction in the US. So, I guess now that sort of thing will be OK... MAGA at work... one new low after another.

  69. Next it will be that the Trump Administration will ease rules against killing children and families "incidentally" in the course of their operations. That may sound extreme, but not when you consider the effect these new regulations (or lack thereof) have on the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. When Republicans brag about cutting back regulations, this is what they mean.

  70. The eight states, with New York in the lead, that have sued to overturn the Trump administration's reinterpretation to remove "incidental take" from the MBTA's protection, are NY, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland, Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon and California. While each can enact protections and take conservation measures on its own, most bird species that nest or winter in a particular state migrate away as part of their lifecycles. That is why national and international protections are needed to conserve the birds that are left. Most importantly we need to vote Trump and pretty much every Republican out of office. Teddy Roosevelt, perhaps the greatest birder and bird conservation advocate of any of our presidents, is rolling over in his grave.

  71. I'm not defending the killing of migratory birds, but let's all acknowledge no means of energy production--hydrocarbon, renewable or otherwise--is 100% environmentally benign. Tough environmental laws are necessary, and these rollbacks very troubling, but let's elect public officials interested in striking the most reasonable balance for most stakeholders.

  72. @Kelly Bushing Not to mention massive changes in behavior an priorities. This is what real leaders are for, we have none, not one.

  73. But let’s also agree that those leaders are not Trump, his administration leaders/clowns or Congressional GOP minions

  74. Notice how the comment sections of the numerous pieces on impeachment and the other outrageous perpetrated by this presidency usually number in the thousands while sickening moves like these numerous attracts on our environmental protections often generate barely more than one hundred. It is a sad commentary that while we are all entranced by these "bigger" stories, this president works off the radar to destroy our legacy of environmental measures aimed at forcing industry to give consideration to the environmental consequences of their actions. Should small short term economic gains really trump these important environmental concerns? Do we really care so little for our stewardship of our national treasures?

  75. @Rich Huff thank you for pointing this out.

  76. @Rich Huff "Do we really care so little for our stewardship of our national treasures?" This move is congruent with the evangelical Christian belief that God put all natural resources on this planet for the purpose of human consumption. Because of this, the destruction of the environment, in their minds, glorifies God. Trump's religious base loves this kind of stuff.

  77. @Gunnar On top of thinking god gave them "dominion" over the planet, evangelicals believe this is only a temporary home before moving on to their imaginary sky castles, so they don't care if they trash it.

  78. We might as well have Voldemort for president.

  79. Is it not surprising that Trump would promote such unconscionable changes? Here is a man who thinks communing with nature means driving a golf cart for 18 holes through a ridiculously manicured course which consumes more fertilizer, herbicides and water than a farm three times the size, then relaxing with a hamburger in an upholstered chair enjoying the view from the air conditioned clubhouse. Nature doesn't register with him, and since he can do 'anything I want', we, his subjects, should reverently follow.

  80. I see he also has in mind to protect the country in which his own grandchildren will grow up...Ug, even using sarcasm doesn’t help anymore. This is just depressing. The man himself is toxic. Can we get a law in place to protect our country from people like him?

  81. @A The one's he's trying to get rid of, you mean ?

  82. Maybe in a few years, if government survives and data can be trusted, we'll uncover the extent of the environmental damage trump is inflicting with his irresponsible economic development antics. If you like trump's economy, you hate earth.

  83. "Trump Administration Moves to Ease Rules Against Killing Birds"…... Hey - It's just a bird or the environment or global warming or clean water or desperate refugees on our border or Puerto Rico or National Parks or, or, or, Or anything important, Like Mar-a-Lago or trophy hunting or a pipeline or making $ or making Putin happy, So quoting Mick Mulvaney, "Just get over it"

  84. THIS kind of thing, almost more than anything else, is why this guy has got to go!

  85. I guess Donald Trump's "anguish" about how many birds are killed by wind farms was just so much nonsense.

  86. Trump wants Wild West style, completely unregulated capitalism. His roots are as a bulldozer of historic properties who views all laws as impediments to him making money.

  87. This article, like many similar pieces at the NY Times, confuses rather than clarifies is issues with the rules for interpretation of the Migratory Bird Act. The act was originally passed to protect migratory birds from massive slaughter by feather and egg hunters -- making it a criminal offense to capture, kill, etc. It was never intended to criminally prosecute building owners whose windows accidentally kill birds that fly into them. Nor was it intended to make normal activities criminal if they accidentally result in the death of a migratory bird. Under the Obama interpretation, I could be charged with a federal crime if a migratory bird flew into the windshield of my car while I drove down the highway. "Oh, no! you say, the government would not prosecute you for that - it wasn't your fault." And you would be right. But the government has been picking and choosing whom to prosecute for identically accidental events. And that is the problem, selectively criminalizing normal business activities. Any law that allows criminal prosecution optional based on bureaucratic selective enforcement is wrong.

  88. @Kip Hansen Almost all law enforcement is selective.

  89. @Kip Hansen These are interesting points but more information, please. Are there examples of cases of picking and choosing who to prosecute? Has a driver actually been prosecuted for having collided with a bird? Has one business been prosecuted for a violation when another has gotten away with doing the same thing?

  90. Susan ==> Yes, of course. No, the Federal government has never prosecuted an individual for accidentally killing a migratory bird with his car while driving. This is part of the point -- it is the same offense -- accidentally "taking" by "any means". Yet the government could do so under the MBTA. "When Ernesto Pulido, a contractor for the U.S. Postal Service, trimmed trees outside a post office Oakland, California in June 2014, he was certainly not worried about violating a federal law. But, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) makes it illegal to “take” or kill by any means 1,026 species of birds. (16 USCA §§ 703 to 708, 709a, 710, 711). When five black-crowned night herons fell out of a tree and were injured as a result of Mr. Pulido’s actions, he was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) on suspicion of violating the MBTA and faced up to $15,000 in fines and up to six months in jail. After public outcry on Mr. Pulido’s behalf and an intervention by a state congressman, the charges were never filed. ... But the outcome, had charges been pressed, would have been hard to predict given the significant split in the courts over the scope and intent of the MBTA." Today, petroleum producers, mining interests, power companies and wind farms are all pursued and prosecuted, while other business and industries are ignored. Accidental, unintentional, and unavoidable "taking" are not and should not be classified as criminal acts.

  91. Of course they do. Whenever it comes to a choice, the Trump maladministration makes the cruel and destructive one.

  92. @JJM Always!

  93. Of all the reasons to despise the Trump Administration, this is the most compelling. He is someone who has probably never taken a walk in the woods or on a seashore just to enjoy the beauty of nature, yet he and his stooges make environmental rules ( or lack thereof) that impact all of nature. He has no morality or respect for life. It is truly depressing. We don’t expect anything decent from Eric or Don Jr., but why doesn’t someone like Ivanka, who has children, speak out against this destruction? You can not destroy the planet and expect to have perfect, privileged life. If only for selfish reasons, she should speak up.

  94. @Rich I do not agree this is the most compelling (he has done so many awful things.) Bad--but typical of this man's hypocrisy. Another "I" for his blab blab rallies.

  95. I am certainly not an animal activist and a carnivore to the core, but the "incidental killing" of an animal should not go unpunished, particularly in when it is attached to financial gain.

  96. Birds should not be killed by our industries. I include in that the solar power industry (which I favor). The sun-ray soaking solar panels are infamous for killing birds that are drawn and fly into them.

  97. The only swamps this vile president wants to drain are the ones providing habitat to birds and other flora and fauna.

  98. If we're lucky enough to get a new president, their 1st hundred days will be devoted entirely to executive orders trying to undo the damage done to our environment, healthcare, the safety net by this greedy corrupt administration.

  99. @Donna Don't expect that if it's Biden. His environmental record is horrible.

  100. After the oil spill in Louisiana, called the "spill" by residents, shrimpers landed the crustaceans with numerous deformities when they did catch shrimp. The likely proximal cause was the diluent used to get the oil off the surface, and oil has toxic effects as well, but the diluent Corexit was the biggest cause of the defects. "Corexit 9527, considered by the EPA to be an acute health hazard, is stated by its manufacturer to be potentially harmful to red blood cells, the kidneys and the liver, and may irritate eyes and skin." People bought the shrimp in New Orleans anyway. Some had extra sets of eyes or were blind. The exposed shrimp larvae were mostly killed off by the oil and BP's attempts to disperse the oil and shrimp with abnormalities, those that survived, ended up on people's plates or in another part of the food chain. Oil companies are writing our laws, deciding our health, and speeding climate change. Paul Krugman mentioned that subsidies amount to millions of dollars per worker. Birds are indicators of an ecosystem's health, of the stability of the food web. When an ecosystem collapses the consequences ripple thru the planet, not just a region. An author here in NYT mentioned ecocide recently and at first I was a little peeved, I was going to use that, but in a few seconds I realized that if he was seeing that in Australia too, then it can't wait. We are killing off the things that connect life across the planet. It's not about your backyard anymore.

  101. @lightscientist66 Thought he used the word "omnicide". Apologies in advance if not.

  102. @lightscientist66 The expression "canary in a coal mine" is more timely than ever.

  103. @lightscientist66 Trump doesn't care.

  104. Brought to you by the same people claiming the moral high ground as defenders of the sanctity of life. It makes sense, though, if the real goal is to enforce traditional hierarchies, men over women, humans over nature. That worldview should have slipped away with the Middle Ages, but alas it continues to threaten western liberalism and its commitment to equality and freedom for all.

  105. @Dr. O Yes, you have it exactly right. And actually, this worldview is threatening life itself on this planet.

  106. A rare case where this administration expands on a practice of the previous one which had been notorious for not doing anything about things like wind turbine bird carnage. They should have pointed this out to get them to expand the protections.

  107. If there's no penalty, there's no incentive to take proper action. Who, exactly, does not understand this ?

  108. @Stretchy Cat Person Absolutely everyone understands it and it's exactly why they're doing it. As long as huge profits are to be made, these people don't give a flip what happens to any species except humans (and then basically just rich white humans).

  109. This breaks my heart. I understand that the supporters of this administration embrace the policies on reproductive rights, migrants, and religion and don't usually enter into discussions of such since I know neither side will change the other's mind. However, don't these people hunt? Don't they fish? How can they not be alarmed by the shocking removal of all protections for wildlife, water, and land? What's going on?

  110. Heartbreaking ... Every once in a while, trumpf does something that really affects me and makes me feel like a second citizen. The Kavanaugh incident was one. This is another one. It seems so senseless.

  111. "...the great egret." Does not this photo speak volumes of not only the beauty of our migratory birds but also their necessity toward ecological balance? Without a delicate and natural interdependence, survival will be but a memory. And I speak of human survival as well as that of our flora and fauna. For years, my husband on behalf of California's Resource's Agency fought to save our wetlands. Before he retired and for ten years, he went on to lead our State's Oil Spill and Prevention Department. He did this for us, for his love of creation. It is heart-breaking to witness the destruction perpetrated by the Trump administration. Truly in so many ways these are among the worst of times for this nation of waning hope.

  112. Weakening the protection and dropping the "threat of punishment to oil and gas companies, construction crews and other organizations that kill birds [AND PEOPLE] 'incidentally' in the course of their operations" will not make this country richer or more productive. The cynical executives (and their families) who manage such industries and operations and the politicians who receive their donations should be required to live and go to school within a certain radius of the plants that cause such damage. Then you would quickly see protection enacted without objection.

  113. In another example that irony is not dead, this is the same Trump who railed against wind farms for "killing birds."

  114. Can he get any worse?

  115. The frightening short answer is yes. He can and will.

  116. Oh what a beautiful morning in Trumpdom, where the songs of those nasty birds will be drowned out by the beautiful sounds of oil pumps, open spaces will be paved over by beautiful concrete and asphalt, the hills of West Virginia and Kentucky will no longer have those useless trees and will yield forth more beautiful clean coal, the burning of which will yield the robust black smoke which will replace the ugly pink color of the human lung with a beautiful black, with beautiful anthricosilicosis, so that we all can be like coal miners, who get to be in the beautiful depths of the earth. And nothing like a slug of mercury in the water, doing away with some of that unnecessary function of the kidneys. And who needs those animals in the woods, they are no good unless they can be put into city zoos, especially if money

  117. Barbarism at its finest. At least this administration is consistent in their lack of concern for anything except money and power.

  118. And meanwhile our President rails against “windmills” on the grounds that they kill birds. Where is Lewis Carroll when we need him?

  119. More good news for people who like bad news.

  120. Very sad how trump is working against nature.

  121. That from the President who opposes wind power (allegedly) because it kills birds.

  122. okay...so birds killed by windmills generating electricity—bad. birds killed by oil and gas companies—good. trump is the most flexible president...ever. and, to think, all it takes is to lack a spine....

  123. I sure hope this rule gets windmills off the hook.

  124. Just keep that low GDP number in mind today. This administration has plundered our shared national wealth to stoke economic growth. That GDP number is low and yet it still massively overstates how much wealthier we got over the last quarter. We wrecked lakes, polluted air and water, killed rare animals, poisoned oceans and soil all to stoke a little extra of what’s counted in “economic output”. It’s like selling all your most treasured possessions in a garage sale and calling it a “gain”.

  125. The ecosystem is collapsing, the climate is changing, and species are disappearing. The writing has been on the wall for decades. If we do not act soon there won't be another chance. Yet day after day the GOP continues their war on the planet, all in the name of profits. EXTINCTION IS FOREVER. THERE IS NO PLANET B. VOTE BLUE.

  126. Trump complained that wind turbines kill birds. I guess by easing this rule, Trump is now encouraging the production and use of wind energy. How ironic!!

  127. At the time of Teddy Roosevelt, and his much heralded conservation efforts, Florida was ground zero when it came to protecting aviaries and rookeries from poachers, developers and over zealous hunting. If not for that foresight many species of birds would have long since become extinct. Were TR alive to witness today’s ignorance-based decision he’d likely take his big stick to the backside of the West Wing’s current occupant, and rightfully so.

  128. Trump declares that Bald Eagles are now fair game and will be appearing on supermarket shelves. His base is delighted in the increase in poultry choices.

  129. Just as we have sent out space probes with our music so that somebody out there will know what we have created, we should ensure the survival of Nat Geo and BBC documentaries, so that when somebody arrives on this near lifeless orb, they will know what we have destroyed.

  130. So is Trump going to stop talking about wind turbines killing birds now that his administration doesn't care if industry kills birds? The answer is no, he doesn't care about being hypocritical and wind turbines have been a hobby horse for him ever since the wind farm was started near his Scottish golf course.

  131. “Under the current legal guidance and the proposed regulatory changes, that incident would no longer trigger criminal liability because the birds were killed unintentionally.” No consequence is too great to be negated by the inability to prove intent. I’d say that I wonder why the Trump administration might be particularly interested in setting such legal precedents, but I’d be lying. It’s all about intent.

  132. I'd like to know where the lawsuits (thank you New Mexico) stand in relation to this new move. Could they overturn this action?

  133. Just one more of many reasons why all Democrats (regardless of who is nominated) absolutely need to band together and vote for that nominee in order to defeat Trump and all his mob.

  134. Thanks to the NYT for covering issues affecting birds! I don't see a lot of these stories in the media. What the admin is doing is absolutely disgusting. What can we do? I don't see birders as a wider community being terribly political, at least not where I live. But all birders--whether recreational birders or serious/competitive birders-- should be fighting everything this administration is doing to the environment and to living creatures on earth. Back in 2017 when there were active protests against the wall in the RGV in South Texas, I remember writing to one local group asking what they were doing to fight this wall (due to the devastating affect on wildlife). The response was tepid, and this made me realize how a-political many nature oriented organizations can be. Birders need to get political fast or risk complete destruction of that which they value most!

  135. It's not bad enough that Trump's relaxed and rolled back EPA rules will result in dirtier, filthier, and unsafe rivers, ponds, streams, and air, but now it will be okay and open season for the killing of migratory birds in the course of oil and gas companies' operations. Is there one thing, other than making gobs of money at the sake of the environment and Mother Nature, that Trump nor his administration doesn't hate? What an incredibly selfish, cruel, hurtful and hateful bunch of people who are calling the shots. So when exactly could their proposed regulation that will be devastating to migratory birds be finalized? I sincerely hope the NYT continues to follow and report on this crucial story.

  136. @Marge Keller "Is there one thing, other than making gobs of money at the sake of the environment and Mother Nature, that Trump nor his administration doesn't hate?" NO.

  137. @cbharvest I concur!!!

  138. Vote out all Republicans.

  139. in perpetuity.

  140. All I can hope for is that Trump will be avenged for this and his unearthly wickedness.

  141. Just how stupid is "The Trump Administration"?? What is the almighty dollar worth to big industries and Trumps core voters: the destruction of our planet? Can not someone in that White House have common sense to see that there will not be a future at the rate they're going? God help us!

  142. Of course they did. Of course. Cry, the beloved country.

  143. When ‘incidental killing’ in this country seems to encompass just about every sort of killing (‘I thought that bird was going to hit me’), then this change translates to allowing any bird to be killed.

  144. The sooner we get rid of this president - the better!

  145. The emblem of the Republican Party should be a starving polar bear. Or perhaps a crying child.

  146. Trump is unbothered by killing of birds, animals, endangered species, immigrants, babies in cages, morals, ethics, and saddest of all, our Constitution.

  147. What a horror. trump and his pals vs the universe. depressing photos are ever more present on page 1.

  148. Wait, isn't killing birds the whole (bogus) Trump opposition to wind power? Oh, right! And, wind power causes cancer!

  149. Ever notice how it is so very easy for a President to destroy regulations, rules, etc., and so very, very difficult to get them into actual practice? I've never known a human being to care so little for the world in which he lives. His avarice is astounding. May it be his downfall.

  150. Sickening!!

  151. If only birds were eligible to vote. They should be, under the circumstances.

  152. If I had a choice between protecting birds or Trump, I'll take the birds, no doubt.

  153. What else would anyone expect from Trump. He is proof that dinosaurs still inhabit the earth. If it is short sighted, beneficial to only a few and completely backward and upside down you know his twisted agenda is behind it.

  154. But I thought he didn’t like windmills because he is so concerned about the birds they kill.

  155. Every atom constituting my body despises this guy trump. He is rolling back everything he can protecting wildlife and humans. Trump is toxic waste dumped on the USA.

  156. Impatiently waiting for the negative Karma to strike these richly deserving Republicans.

  157. Isn't Trump the same genius who was complaining that wind power killed too many birds and caused cancer?

  158. @Bob Spears - when looking at all the health, safety and environmental regulations he's had repealed, it would be more accurate to say that Trump is carcinogenic.

  159. The GOP is the party of anything for a dime.

  160. The Migratory Bird Act was passed before many toxins, pesticides, and herbicides even existed. If they had, it is fair to assume that the Act would have been MORE strict, not less. It feels as if, the world over, the forces of greed and destruction are gaining power. With life-killing polices like the ones the corrupt Interior Department is pursuing, we will lose our souls and our place in the natural world simply to enrich a few powerful, obscenely wealthy villains.

  161. @M. Burns The concept of responsibility does not appear in the Trump doctrine. Every natural element is suffering" death by a thousand cuts" resulting from Trump's policies. Unconscionable that we can have come so far only to be kicked back by the heavy foot of greed. There will be no victor in this policy.

  162. @M. Burns well said. I agree completely. It is devastating to feel so powerless in the face of such corruption and downright evil. I guess all we can do is vote and encourage others to do so as well. The only extinction I wish for is that of the Trump Administration.

  163. @M. Burns The younger voters should be marching on Washington...they will obviously be the generation to suffer from the ignorance perpetuated by the Trump administration.

  164. It's no longer 'just' the Republicans and the Trump mafia gang that are out to destroy our clean air, water, nature (basically the environment) Corporations push to have regulations lifted so a mere few can profit from the 'free-for-all' dumping, killing, polluting. But take a close look at the Democrats are who pushing for more and more development. Habitat loss is one the biggest reasons why we are seeing dramatic drops in the population of birds and wildlife. No one seems to be paying attention to the loss that is happening rapidly around us. It's an undisputed fact that we need nature and the habitats in which they survive. We are all in this together. We are on the downward spiral . . . .

  165. At what point is enough enough? We Democrats know it will not be a walk in the woods toward election victory in November. This crime against nature, against the natural world, should be one more arrow in the campaign quiver against Trump. Yes, we know Trump's supporters care not for any of the crimes committed by this president. But an informative campaign itemizing his crimes must begin sooner than later, if we are to land the independent voters.

  166. I thought Trumpy wanted to get rid of the wind farms because they kill birds??? Now the oil and gas companies are allowed to kill birds??? Hmmmm

  167. So what if one man makes unreasonable rules, others don't have to agree or follow it, give power to a statement. We can protest, and do more to protect the earth we live in.

  168. Despite dire warnings and scientific evidence coming in from every corner of the globe, the current administration continues to push policies that will accelerate the worst effects of climate change. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 sought to preserve the species from extinction by their most dangerous predator-man. Wisdom and concern has enhanced the MBTA to include 'incidental takes', from activities such as oil spills, uncovered toxic retention ponds. The US has a treaties with other countries like Canada, Russia, and Japan. and companies have long cooperated with local and government agencies to mitigate the millions of bird kills. Just months ago the President called wind turbines in Scotland "bird graveyards", but the British Royal Society for the Protection of Birds built a wind turbine to reduce carbon emissions to preserve species loss, ie. wind power is far more beneficial to birds than it is harmful. In 2013 Environment Canada cited the major causes of bird deaths, 186 million deaths in Canada alone, due to human activity- from the cats we neglect to keep, to power lines and road collisions. We have been so arrogant to discount facts that our ancestors knew so well-that our survival as a species depends on how we interact with the ecosystems we inhabit.

  169. Good god, is there no depths to which this evil man will stoop?

  170. Getting Trump out of the White House isn't enough. The companies and their lobbyists need to be identified and called out for their selfishness and pure evil.

  171. I'm DONE calling them conservatives. Conserving what exactly? Your bank accounts? It really is to the point of cartoon villainy - they're just up there, flying around in their private jets actively trying to think of ever-more egregious ways to hurt the environment. "I've got it! Lets kill all the birds! People love birds so we will kill them. It is eeevillllll." I could literally see a cartoon villain saying that.

  172. Yet his cult followers aka his base continue to flock to his rallies and say things couldn’t be better and they can’t wait to vote for him again. I hope the Times stops covering the . They’re a lost cause. There’s no way the Democrats should try to appease these people to get their vote unless they swear to continue to end any regulations that protect the environment, all the animals within it, and the air we breathe and the water we drink. These Trump cultists obviously don’t care about things like that, perhaps thinking any damage won’t affect them. Those of us who do care can either read articles like this and weep, mobilize and vote Trump and his enabling members of Congress out of office forever although the stench and damage they’ll leave behind may never totally disappear,

  173. Wait, wasn't one of Trump's big digs against wind turbines that they kill birds? I really shouldn't be surprised by the hypocrisy anymore, but still.

  174. This makes me sick. I just don’t understand how people can support this awful creature, Trump. When I see these things, I feel so helpless and depressed. I grew up watching the birds - my Dad had taken an ornithology class at Muhlenberg College in PA in the 50s and he shared his love of the birds and nature with me & my siblings and I’ve tried to share it with my grandchildren. But, their parents support Trump! I really fear we will have 4 more years.

  175. And so with the birds, go the planet. Yet the corporate greed that seems to be acceptable, even encouraged with this administration spreads like wild fires.

  176. Those wacky "pro-life" people are at it again. By the way, if you know using a certain pesticide is going to result in the deaths of a bunch of birds and you use the pesticide anyway the deaths are not incidental - they are intentional as a matter of law.

  177. Elections have consequences. Like many of Trump's appointees, David Bernhardt, Secretary of the Interior, was a lobbyist for oil companies and you could say he essentially still works for the oil industry. So, all you bird watchers and hikers and campers who voted for Trump, enjoy what you vote has brought about.