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The Trump administration is set to finalize a regulation Thursday that will end penalties against oil, gas and construction businesses that “incidentally” cause the deaths of birds as a result of their work, The New York Times reported.
The regulation would reduce protections for birds offered by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 and only punish companies that kill birds with explicit intent. Businesses would not be held accountable for the deaths of birds caused by oil spills, wind turbines or the use of illegal pesticides, according to the Times.
Though the legislation is not yet finalized, the Trump administration has already advised local governments and businesses to not take steps to protect birds and federal wildlife officials now rarely investigate bird deaths, according to internal agency documents obtained by the Times.
President Donald Trump has taken other actions to weaken environmental protections. Last week, he reduced the types of waterways protected from pollution under federal law.
However, Trump has also spoken against bird deaths in the past. He has repeatedly criticized wind farms for being “bird killing.”