The Trump administration is finalizing a devastating rollback that will gut the Endangered Species Act.
The AP reports: “At least 10 attorneys general joined conservation groups in protesting an early draft of the changes, saying they put more wildlife at greater risk of extinction. A draft version of the changes released last year included ending blanket protections for animals newly deemed threatened and allowing federal authorities for the first time to consider the economic cost of protecting a particular species. Another change could let authorities disregard impacts from climate change, one of the largest threats to habitat, conservation groups said.”
Reports the Center for Biological Diversity: “The three rules finalized today were developed under the supervision of David Bernhardt, the secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior and a former fossil fuel industry lobbyist. They severely weaken protections for threatened and endangered species across the country. … One set of regulatory changes weaken the consultation process designed to prevent harm to endangered animals and their habitats from federal agency activities. A second set curtails the designation of critical habitat and weakens the listing process for imperiled species. A third regulation would eliminate all protections for wildlife newly designated as ‘threatened’ under the Act.”
Said the Center’s Noah Greenwald: “These changes crash a bulldozer through the Endangered Species Act’s lifesaving protections for America’s most vulnerable wildlife. For animals like wolverines and monarch butterflies, this could be the beginning of the end. We’ll fight the Trump administration in court to block this rewrite, which only serves the oil industry and other polluters who see endangered species as pesky inconveniences.”