Tie score. After one
Supreme Court ruling and one Presidential Executive Order the score stands
Landfills - 1, Migratory Birds - 1.
Jan. 9, 2001, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that
the U.S. Corps of Engineers could not use the Migratory Bird Rule of the
National Clean Water Act to prevent the group of 23 Chicago-area municipalities from constructing a
landfill atop 14 acres of seasonal ponds used by migratory birds.
Jan. 11, 2001, President Clinton issued an Executive Order titled "Responsibilities
of Federal Agencies to Protect Migratory Birds."
other things, the order directs, "Each Federal agency taking
actions that have, or are likely to have, a measurable negative effect on
migratory bird populations is directed to develop and implement, within 2 years,
a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service)
that shall promote the conservation of migratory bird populations.
course, the Corps of Engineers probably felt that denying that landfill permit
to fill in seasonal ponds used by migratory birds did "promote the conservation of migratory bird
populations." But before the Supreme Court, you have your good days and your bad
It's not like
migratory birds have not had their share of good days when it comes to gaining
the protection of the US government. Here a list of laws that in some way protect migratory birds, their habitat, or both:
In addition, the United
Sates government has, over the years, joined in migratory bird protection
agreements with other countries:
Convention for the Protection of Migratory
Birds with Great Britain on behalf of Canada -- 1916
Convention for the
Protection of Migratory Birds and Game Mammals-Mexico -- 1936
the Protection of Birds and Their Environment-Japan -- 1972
for the Conservation of Migratory Birds and Their Environment-Union of Soviet
Socialist Republics -- 1978
Add to the above list state
conservation laws, along with the support of sportsmen and environmental
organizations, and there remains little worry that the millions of people who
enjoy watching, feeding, studying, or hunting migratory birds in America and
around the world can continue to do so for many generations to come.