Migratory Bird Treaty Act

News & Analysis as of

Court Holds that the Bureau of Indian Affairs is Not Obligated to Ensure Migratory Bird Treaty Act or Bald and Golden Eagle...

On March 29, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California granted summary judgment in favor of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (“BIA”) in a lawsuit involving the grant of a lease to Tule Wind, LLC for...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Formally Reinstates 5-Year Limit for Eagle Take Permits

On February 17, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“USFWS”) issued a final rule formally reinstating a five-year limit for eagle take permits. The final rule responds to an August 2015 ruling by the U.S. District Court...more

Could the US Be “Aiding and Abetting” Cape Wind MBTA Violations?

In the latest legal wrangling over the long-delayed Cape Wind Associates’ wind farm off Nantucket, during oral argument judges on the DC Circuit suggested that by permitting the wind farm, the US might be aiding and abetting...more

Up For Debate: What’s the Real Cost of Endangered Species Predation?

On February 10, 2016, lawmakers on the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Power, and Oceans are scheduled to discuss several wildlife laws, including the Endangered Species Act (ESA), Marine Mammal Protection Act...more

Migratory Bird Treaty Act: Question Of Unintentional “Take” Primed For Potential Fifth Circuit En Banc Or Supreme Court Review

Recently, industry won a major legal victory regarding liability—or lack thereof—for unintentional and indirect bird deaths under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). Unfortunately, that victory could be short lived,...more

Fifth Circuit Reverses Citgo Convictions Under Clean Air Act and Migratory Bird Treaty Act

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in United States v. CITGO Petroleum Corp., No. 14-40128 (5th Cir. September 4, 2015), reversed the district court’s convictions of Citgo Petroleum Corp. (Citgo) for alleged...more

Prudence Prevails: Fifth Circuit Supports Narrow Reading of Liability under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act

The U.S. Court of the Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently ruled that the criminal prohibition on killing or injuring birds under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (“MBTA”) “only prohibits intentional acts (not omissions) that...more

Citgo Prevails Over EPA at the Fifth Circuit

USA v. Citgo Petroleum highlights the excruciating degree of detail in federal regulations and the gymnastics the EPA will employ justify a prosecution. The Fifth Circuit has reversed Citgo Petroleum’s conviction for...more

Court Limits Migratory Bird Treaty Act Applicability to Incidental Take

On September 4, 2015, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a ruling in United States v. CITGO that a “taking” subject to prosecution under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) does not include the...more

Corporate Wrongdoing: More Civil and Criminal Liability for Individuals?

The US Department of Justice has issued a memorandum to all of its prosecuting Divisions, directing changes to the principles applied by DOJ in prosecuting civilly or criminally individuals who engage in corporate misconduct....more

Liability for Unintentional Bird Deaths Still Up in the Air

The recent Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that unintentional bird deaths under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (“MBTA”) are not “takes” under the MBTA and therefore not subject to criminal liability, adds fodder to the...more

Where You Operate Matters: the Fifth Circuit Widens the Split on MBTA Liability

Last week the Fifth Circuit issued a ruling that reduces uncertainty regarding criminal liability for taking migratory birds. In particular, the ruling alleviates potential liability for facilities where interactions with...more

Fifth Circuit Decision in Citgo Case May Place Limits on Criminal Liability Under Migratory Bird Treaty Act

On September 4, 2015, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed convictions of CITGO Petroleum Corporation and CITGO Refining and Chemical Company, L.P. (collectively "Citgo"), and in so doing placed potentially...more

Fifth Circuit Holds that Migratory Bird Treaty Act Does Not Apply to Incidental Takes - What It Means for Energy Developers

On September 4, 2015, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the misdemeanor convictions of Citgo Petroleum Corporation and Citgo Refining and Chemicals Company, L.P. (collectively Citgo) for “taking” migratory birds in...more

Birds of a Feather: The 5th Circuit Joins the 8th and 9th Circuits’ Narrow View of the MBTA’s Take Prohibition

On September 4, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held in United States v. CITGO Petroleum Co. that the Migratory Bird Treaty Act’s take prohibition does not include the unintentional take of migratory...more

Fifth Circuit Spurns Second and Tenth Circuits, Sides with Eighth and Ninth Circuits on Interpretation of MBTA “Take” Prohibition

Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), it is unlawful to “pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill, attempt to take, capture, or kill . . . any migratory bird” protected by the Act. 16 U.S.C. 703(a) & 704(a). In a recent...more

Migratory Bird Treaty Act Narrowly Interpreted: the Fifth Circuit Joins the Eighth and Ninth Circuits

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a district court decision holding CITGO liable for three misdemeanors under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) for bird deaths (the opinion lists 35 birds, including “twenty...more

New Regulations Could Expand CEQA Review of Impacts to Common Birds - California Department of Fish & Wildlife Proposes Draft...

The California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) published draft regulations interpreting California laws that protect birds of prey, and the nests and eggs of birds generally. These draft regulations, released on Aug. 14,...more

Federal District Court Strikes Down Eagle Act Rule

On August 11, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California struck down the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s so-called “30-Year Rule,” which had extended from 5 years to 30 years the duration of...more

FWS To Authorize Incidental Takes Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act?

Late last month, the Fish & Wildlife Service issued a Notice of Intent to prepare a programmatic environmental impact statement to evaluate various options for authorizing incidental takes under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act....more

Fish & Wildlife Service Issues Notice of Intent to Regulate Incidental Take of Migratory Birds

On May 26, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) published a notice of its intent to evaluate potential ways to regulate incidental takes of migratory birds under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (“MBTA”). The Notice...more

US Fish & Wildlife Service Proposes First-of-its-Kind Migratory Bird Incidental Take Authorizations

On May 26, 2015, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced its intent to prepare a programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) to evaluate the potential impacts of permits authorizing the incidental take of...more

US Fish and Wildlife Service Considering Permit Program Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to Cover Commercial and Industrial...

For the first time, the US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) is considering a proposed rulemaking to authorize the unintentional injury or killing of migratory birds by certain commercial and industrial activities....more

A Permit System May Finally Arrive for the Migratory Bird Treaty Act - New Opportunities and Responsibilities

For years, Federal Courts have held that individuals can be held criminally liable under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) for the death of birds regardless of whether they intended to harm them. While several courts have...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to Consider Expanding Incidental Take Authorization Under Migratory Bird Treaty Act

This week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a notice in the Federal Register identifying its intent to prepare an environmental impact statement analyzing various approaches for regulating incidental...more

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