AUGUSTA – Maine’s bald eagle population has increased to the point where two legislators proposed a bill this month to remove it from the state’s list of Endangered and Threatened Species.

Sen. Bruce Bryant, D-Dixfield, and his brother, Rep. Mark Bryant, D-Windham, submitted LD 66, An Act to Amend Maine’s Endangered and Threatened Species List by Removing the Bald Eagle.

A public hearing on the bill will be held at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 3, before the Legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee in Room 206 of the Cross Building behind the State House.

The brothers’ move comes 17 months after the federal government removed bald eagles from its list of Endangered and Threatened Species.

“The bald eagle is doing great in Maine,” Sen. Bryant said Friday in a report. “We’ve seen a tremendous increase in their population numbers, and we are simply following the lead of the federal government regarding their classification.”

Maine has at least 477 nesting bald eagle pairs, which are producing more than 300 fledglings annually, the report states.

In 1978, state and federal law first protected bald eagles as an Endangered Species in Maine and 42 other states, primarily due to widespread use of the pesticide DDT after World War II. The pesticide accumulated in eagles and caused them to lay brittle eggs, decimating populations.

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