Trump administration seeks endangered species rule changes

Mindy Sparks
July 22, 2018

Meanwhile, another suggested change would remove a clause that automatically conveys the same protections to threatened species as endangered species.

"The Administration, the Defense Department, and the Interior Department support the provision in question and believe that it could help the Department avoid any negative readiness impacts on military facilities should the species be listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act", Pete Giambastiani, principal deputy assistant Secretary of Defense for legislative affairs said in a statement.

WorldWildLife.org has created a list of animal species, organized by conservation status.

Critics said the moves would speed extinctions in the name of furthering its anti-environment agenda.

The monarch butterfly is one of several species now being considered for protections under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. It protects species like the gray wolf, grizzly bear, and spotted owl, by designating them as endangered and barring the destruction of their habitat and hunting.

"It essentially turns every listing of a species into a negotiation", said Noah Greenwald with the Center for Biological Diversity.

"This is not all good or all bad", he said. A third regulation would gut almost all protections for wildlife newly designated as "threatened" under the Act. Until those plans are completed, he said, broad protections against harming plants and animals should stay in place. Then in March of 2017, Trump chose Ryan Zinke, a congressman from Montana with a long record of opposing animal protections, to serve as his Interior secretary.

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The species of bird, called the sage grouse, has always been a point of contention between landowners and conservationists who have pushed for it to be listed on the Endangered Species Act. Zinke also has sought to portray himself as a conservationist in the vein of President Teddy Roosevelt who will protect the nation's natural resources. Critics said they would doom hundreds of imperiled animals and plants and undermine the Endangered Species Act of 1973, one of the most popular - and heavily litigated - environmental laws ever enacted.

Developers, business interests and state governments, however, have long blamed the Endangered Species Act for land-use controls that trample property rights and thwart economic activity with little concern for their potential losses.

One of the chief architects of that effort, U.S. Sen.

Environmental and animal advocates have been waiting for this proposal since the day Trump was inaugurated.

"The administration is limited by an existing law that needs to be updated", Barrasso said. Critical habitat is a specific geographic area, whether occupied by the species or not, determined to be essential for the conservation and management of the listed plant or animal.

Conservationists who anxious about the changes, expected for months, said their fears were realized.


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