Petition to Regulate Wind Industry, MBTA Rulemaking, USDA Oil Spill Response Effective



ABC Submits New Petition to Regulate the Wind Industry — FWS Considering Rulemaking

American Bird Conservancy (ABC) has filed a formal petition with the U.S. Department of the Interior calling for the agency to establish new regulations governing the impacts of wind energy projects on migratory birds. The ABC petition augments an earlier petition filed by ABC in December 2011 that also called for wind industry regulatory action that would reduce the projected 1.4-2 million bird deaths expected to be caused by the industry when it is fully built out.

The ABC petition would have the Department of Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) establish a permitting process that would significantly improve the protection of birds covered by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) and would afford the wind industry a degree of regulatory and legal certainty that cannot be provided in the absence of such a process.

“This is the second time we have petitioned for improvements on the permitting issue—this time with new and even stronger arguments– and it appears that FWS is now starting a process that could lead to that becoming a reality,” Hutchins said in reference to FWS filing a Notice of Intent to take action with the Office of Management and Budget on this issue. “We recognize that properly sited and operated wind energy projects may be an important part of the solution to climate change, a contemporary challenge that indisputably poses a rapidly growing threat to species and ecosystems,” Hutchins said.

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Migratory Bird Incidental Take Rulemaking under Consideration

FWS is proposing to publish a notice of intent to establish a permitting system for the incidental take of over 1,000 species of migratory birds protected by the MBTA.  Industry could benefit due to a greater degree of certainty and compliance with the MBTA which currently doesn’t allow for any regulated take.  Conservation will benefit because this will create a mechanism to ensure that best management practices and effective mitigation measures are required to minimize unintentional harm to migratory birds.  We will alert you when the notice of intent is published and the comment period opens.

Study Says USDA Effort Benefits Birds after 2010 Gulf Oil Spill

A newly released study says the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) effort to create habitat on private lands for migratory birds following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill has provided significant benefits to ducks, geese and other birds. The independent study conducted by Mississippi State University (MSU) on USDA’s Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative (MBHI), a Farm Bill conservation effort, shows that wetlands created and enhanced by farmers provided migration and winter habitat for many more birds than unmanaged sites.

“Catastrophes like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill can have lasting impacts on waterfowl and water birds,” said Robert Bonnie, USDA undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment. “The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) worked with farmers to create alternative habitat for waterfowl and other birds through Farm Bill conservation programs. The ecosystems that NRCS helped create through this initiative are thriving.”

Findings also show MBHI was particularly beneficial during the drought the region experienced following the oil spill, when many wetland habitats were dry. See more results at


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