RE: Oppose H.R. 4239
As your constituent, (bird enthusiast), (and as an avian veterinarian), I am writing to express my opposition to H.R. 4239 (SECURE American Energy Act) in its current form. I urge you to vote against H.R. 4239.
The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 (MBTA) is one of the most long-standing and successful acts in U.S. history for the protection of migratory and native bird species. The MBTA has served as a useful tool to prevent unnecessary injury or death to birds by energy projects with its ability to prosecute energy companies for the incidental deaths of birds, including golden eagles, caused by impacts with wind turbines and power lines and by oil spills. Collected fines have been directed towards treating injured birds (eg. Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon oil spill) and wetland restoration and conservation projects that protect habitats for wild birds. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) now requires best management practices for energy projects, such as the covering of open oil pits.
If enacted into law, H.R. 4239 would undermine the MBTA and threaten protected birds in their native habitats. Energy companies would be able to develop and build energy projects with impunity and without regard to the accidental death and injury of protected birds. This will almost certainly result in more birds, perhaps millions more, dying from accidental effects from energy projects.
(As a veterinarian that works with birds, I am deeply concerned about the health and welfare of all bird species, including wild birds. Avian veterinarians work with federal and state agencies, non-profit organizations, and private entities. Avian veterinarians have cared for and treated wild birds that have been affected by oil spills, power line impacts, and other injuries related to energy projects.)
I urge you to protect wild birds from the deadly effects of energy projects and urge you to continue to hold energy companies accountable for the incidental bird injuries and deaths caused by these projects. Please do not vote to weaken the MBTA. Please oppose H.R. 4239.