Trump Administration Wants to Weaken the Endangered Species Act

Proposed changes to popular environmental law would make it easier to ignore protections for at-risk species

Erica Fuller

The Trump administration is at it again. This time, they’re attacking one of our nation’s most popular environmental laws: the Endangered Species Act.

Since its passage 45 years ago, the Endangered Species Act has provided essential protections for some of our nation’s most beloved animals. The humpback whale, grizzly bear, gray wolf, and the bald eagle have all been removed from the endangered species list thanks to the Act’s protections. The Endangered Species Act has also safeguarded plants such as Eggert’s sunflower and the Tennessee purple coneflower. Here in New England, the North Atlantic right whale was one of the first species to be listed as endangered under the Act.

But now, those species that still or will need the protection of the Endangered Species Act – many because of human impact – are at even greater risk.

Money Over the Environment

The Departments of Commerce and Interior have jointly proposed sweeping changes to how the Endangered Species Act is implemented. If approved, these changes would drastically weaken the law for the financial benefit of special interest groups.

Some of the most troubling proposed changes include:

  • Allowing the economic impacts of protection to be considered when determining if a species should be listed under the Endangered Species Act, making it harder to list a species in the first place.
  • Removing the requirement to automatically designate critical habitat (areas essential to the conservation of an endangered or threatened species) when an animal is listed, allowing logging, oil drilling, and other industries that destroy natural habitats to potentially proceed despite their impact on the plants and animals in their path.
  • Removing blanket protections for threatened species, making it easier to kill threatened species and more difficult to recover these species before it’s too late.
  • Removing the heightened standard necessary to “delist” a species, making it easier to remove a currently protected species from the protections afforded under the Act.

Once again, the greed of the Trump administration is jeopardizing the future of our nation’s great natural environment. We cannot allow this short-sighted policy to go forward.

The Endangered Species Act in New England

With only about 440 North Atlantic right whales left in the population this highly endangered species needs all of the protections the Endangered Species Act provides.

If the Trump administration makes the proposed changes to how the Endangered Species Act is implemented, it could open the door for the administration to remove protections for those endangered species most at risk, like right whales. We can’t let this happen.

Your Voice Needs to be Heard

The majority of Americans support the Endangered Species Act, and the Trump administration needs to hear from you. The Departments of Commerce and Interior are both seeking comments on the proposed changes through September 24, 2018.

Let the Trump Administration know you oppose these proposed changes and support a strong Endangered Species Act so that right whales – and thousands of other species – will continue to be protected.

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