By Nick Goldstein, vice president of regulatory and legal issues, ARTBA

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) will clarity its enforcement of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), according to a Feb. 3 proposal by the agency. Only actions “directed at migratory birds, their nests or their eggs” that result in injury or death will be considered violations.

The proposed change would protect firms from being liable for accidental bird injuries and deaths during the normal course of construction. It would codify a 2017 U.S. Department of the Interior legal opinion.

If approved, the change would help reduce transportation construction project delays by preventing unnecessary MBTA penalties when there was no intent to kill or injure protected birds.

Comments on the proposal are due March 19. ARTBA will support the change and encourages members to do the same. If you need more information or have examples of the MBTA being enforced for accidental bird injuries or death on your project sites, please contact me.

PHOTO: The golden eagle is protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. U.S. Fish & Wildlife photo.