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Congressman Mike Quigley

Representing the 5th District of Illinois

Quigley Re-Introduces Bipartisan, Cost-Neutral Bill to Save the Lives of Millions of Birds

May 18, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), who serves as Vice Chair of the Sustainable Energy & Environment Coalition (SEEC), joined Rep. Morgan Griffith (VA-09) in re-introducing the Federal Bird-Safe Buildings Act to help prevent the deaths of millions of birds by ensuring federal buildings incorporate the latest bird-safe technologies. Rep. Quigley first introduced similar legislation as a Cook County Commissioner in 2008, and has introduced this bill in every session of Congress since 2010.

“By pursuing cost-neutral, responsible, and realistic solutions we can play an important role in preserving the intrinsic, cultural, and ecological value birds bring to our society,” said Rep. Quigley. “This bill will put an emphasis on constructing buildings with bird-safe materials and design features, which in turn will help eradicate unnecessary bird deaths caused by collisions with glass.”

In addition to the moral and ethical responsibility we have to protect wildlife from the potentially harmful impacts of our society and built environment, America’s bird population also has a direct impact on our economy. According to the American Bird Conservancy (ABC), Americans spend about $36 billion in pursuit of birding activities. One in five Americans, 48 million people, engage in bird watching, and about 42 percent travel away from home to go birding. Birding activities generate about $4.4 billion in federal tax revenues and about $6.2 billion in state tax revenues, support about 670,000 jobs, and provide $38 billion in employment income. 

Most birds’ first encounter with glass is fatal, when they try to fly to trees, sky or other objects seen through glass or reflected on its surface. However, low- or no-cost techniques can be used in new construction projects, as well as existing buildings, to mitigate bird collisions and deaths. The Federal Bird-Safe Buildings Act will save the lives of millions of birds by calling for each public building constructed, acquired, or significantly altered by the General Services Administration (GSA) to incorporate, to the maximum extent possible, bird-safe building materials and design features. Many buildings constructed by GSA are already, in fact, bird-friendly. The legislation would require GSA to take similar actions on existing buildings, where practicable. 

The Federal Bird-Safe Buildings Act of 2017 is co-sponsored by Lee Zeldin (R-NY), Michael E. Capuano (D-MA), Jared Huffman (D-CA), David Cicilline (D-RI), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Matt Cartwright (D-PA), James P. McGovern (D-MA), Rueben Gallego (D-AZ), Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL), Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Donald Beyer (D-VA), Suzane DelBene (D-WA), Elanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), and Jim Langevin (D-RI). The following organizations have also endorsed the bill: The Humane Society of the United States, American Bird Conservancy, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, National Audubon Society, and Prendergast Laurel Architects.

Rep. Quigley is a stalwart supporter of our wildlife and the environment. As a member of the bipartisan Animal Protection Caucus, Rep. Quigley has maintained a 100 percent policy rating with the Humane Society of the United States, and was recently rewarded with the Legislative Leader Award. Since assuming his role as the only Illinois member of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep Quigley has fought for increased funding for animal protections, including in the Animal Welfare in Agricultural Research Endeavors (AWARE) Act and the Horse Protection Act. Last year, Rep. Quigley spoke to Loyola University Chicago about his efforts to promote bird-safe measures.

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