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Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. v. U.S. Department of the Interior

ELR Citation: 50 ELR 20190
Nos. 18-CV-4596 (VEC), 18-CV-4601 (VEC), and 18-CV-8084 (VEC), (S.D.N.Y., 08/11/2020) (Caproni, J.)

A district court vacated DOI's 2017 policy allowing incidental takings and killings of migratory birds. Environmental groups and states challenged the policy, arguing that it violated the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) by interpreting the Act as only prohibiting takes or kills resulting from activities specifically aimed at birds. The court found that nothing in the text of the MBTA suggested that activity must be directed specifically at birds in order to fall within its prohibition, nor that it prohibited only intentionally killing migratory birds, and thus concluded that the policy was an unpersuasive interpretation of the MBTA. It therefore vacated the policy and remanded to DOI for further proceedings.