Trump Administration Weakens US Wildlife Protections Over Objections of Conservationists

FILE PHOTO: A grizzly bear and her two cubs approach the carcass of a bison in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, United States, July 6, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart
FILE PHOTO: A grizzly bear and her two cubs approach the carcass of a bison in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, United States, July 6, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart

The Trump administration on Monday finalized changes to provisions of the U.S. Endangered Species Act it says will streamline the decades-old wildlife protection law but which conservation groups say will threaten at-risk species.

The 1970s-era Act is credited with bringing back from the brink of extinction species such as bald eagles, gray whales and grizzly bears, but the law has long been a source of frustration for drillers, miners and other industries because new listings can put vast areas of land off-limits to development.

The weakening of the Act’s protections is one of many moves by U.S. President Donald Trump, a Republican, to roll back existing regulations to hasten oil, gas and coal production, as well as grazing, ranching and logging on federal land.

The changes would end a practice that automatically conveys the same protections for threatened species as for endangered species, and would strike language that guides officials to ignore economic impacts of how animals should be safeguarded. The original Act protected species regardless of the economics of the area protected.

“The revisions finalized with this rulemaking fit squarely within the President’s mandate of easing the regulatory burden on the American public, without sacrificing our species’ protection and recovery goals,” U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a statement.

The changes were announced by the Interior Department’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Commerce Department’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).

Conservationists and environmentalists said they would challenge the revised law in court.

“These changes crash a bulldozer through the Endangered Species Act’s lifesaving protections for America’s most vulnerable wildlife,” Noah Greenwald, the Center for Biological Diversity’s endangered species director, said in a statement.

“For animals like wolverines and monarch butterflies, this could be the beginning of the end,” Greenwald said.

According to the revision, the Fish and Wildlife Service would need to write separate rules for each threatened species, slowing their protection until conditions worsen. Previously, threatened species, which account for 20% of listed species under the Act, would receive the same automatic protections as endangered species, according to the liberal Center for American Progress policy research organization.

“Ending this practice … would strain the resources of USFWS and NMFS, costing managers valuable time before they can take action to protect a species,” said Kate Kelly, the organization’s public lands director.

The revised rules will also prohibit designation of critical habitat for species threatened by climate change, the Center for Biological Diversity said. Trump rejects mainstream climate science and agencies such as the Interior Department have stopped weighing climate impacts in their regulations.

Some lawmakers from Western states and free market conservation groups applauded the changes, seeing them as helping states and landowners. Wyoming Republican Senator John Barrasso said the revision was a good first step but Congress should also reform the Endangered Species Act.

“We must modernize the Endangered Species Act in a way that empowers states, promotes the recovery of species, and allows local economies to thrive,” Barrasso said.

(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; editing by Grant McCool)

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Bonnie Keever

I wish he wouldn’t do this


I do believe that there is a way to balance mans needs with natures needs, however, to date , man has shown that where money is involved they will do anything to obtain it, including but not limited to, destroying entire species , entire forests , rivers, streams, creeks, land. As far as climate change, the earth has always undergone climate change and there is no way anyone can protect anything from it, we don’t even know for certain it is happening at this time thus we do not know what it would like, will the earth be a frozen… Read more »

william jackson

Too bad the greenies, anti petro’s and global warming BS’ers use these laws as a phony means to delay or offset progress—-all in the name of some cherished toad no one ever heard of, the drinking water of some native american indian tribe hundreds of miles away, curb CO2 or protect melting glaciers. If all these “save the planet” hypocrites really wanted to do something they’d get behind an International effort to clean up the oceans—-the unheard of toads will be just fine!


Where are all the conservationists for threatened/endangered species outcry caused by the “sustainable” energy from bird/bat killing windmills & bird/insect incinerazation by solar panel arrays? What about all the habitat taken away from species to build windmills & solar panel arrays? The habitat destruction to build access roads to install windmills & solar panels arrays? What about all the habitat destruction to mine and transport the materials to build windmills and solar panel arrays? What about the environmental damage to produce the materials, such as steel mills? Doesn’t the production of “sustainable” energy contribute to the “Climate Crisis?” Where are… Read more »


But what does it mean Screwtape?

It means the EXACT SAME CRITERIA used to add species to the Endangered/Threatened list in the first place will now be applied, AGAIN to those species.

If one pushes climate change, then one acknowledges that things change.


Before conservationists and those who love animals more than people (I’m one) have their heads explode, consider this explanation from the Dept. of Interior:

“”The revisions to the regulations clarify that the standards for delisting and reclassification of a species consider the same five statutory factors as the listing of a species in the first place. This requirement ensures that all species proposed for delisting or reclassification receive the same careful analysis to determine whether or not they meet the statutory definitions of a threatened or endangered species as is done for determining whether to add a species to the list”


” Trump rejects mainstream climate science”.

Explain mainstream. REAL science is never certain (even gravity remains a theory) without concrete, reproducible proof. Remember cold fusion?

Ooh, the climate is changing. Yes it does. I’m still waiting for the Ice Age some scientists predicted back in the 70s.





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