Members look to ease federal rules that protect destructive birds

Under current law, the cormorant is protected under a 1918 law protecting migratory birds. To remove these birds from private land, a permit is needed from the Fish and Wildlife Service, in consultation with both the Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Service and state authorities.

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To get around this lengthy process, the bill, H.R. 1788, would let states submit management proposals to the Secretary of the Interior. Those plans would benefit from a fast-track approval process, and state plans to remove the birds would be reviewed every five years.

Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), who co-sponsored the bill with Bachmann, said he has sponsored or co-sponsored legislation to reduce the cormorant population for more than 20 years. He added that he's hopeful his latest effort with Bachmann can win support in the House.

"Cormorants continue to be a problem in Waconia, across Minnesota, and throughout the United States," Waconia, Minnesota Mayor Jim Nash said. "The legislation is a common sense approach to alleviate red tape in managing the cormorant population so that they do not adversely impact important fisheries like Waconia."

Members co-sponsoring the bill are Reps. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), Tom Cole (R-Okla.), Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.), John Kline (R-Minn.) and Bob Latta (R-Ohio).

— This story was updated on Tuesday, 11:33 a.m. to correct the quote from Mayor Nash.