October 30, 2020

What’s going on with the Migratory Bird Treaty Act?

William F. Sheehan

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA, Act) has led a quiet life until recently. In the past few years, though, it has been the subject of (1) a sea change in the U.S. Department of the Interior’s (Interior’s) view of its meaning, (2) a successful suit by six environmental groups and eight states to overturn that new interpretation, (3) a pending rulemaking by Interior to codify the new interpretation, (4) a congressional proposal to amend the MBTA, and (5) new state statutes designed to fill the lacunae left by Interior in protecting migratory birds. This article explores that current unsettled state of affairs.

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