Trump Admin Severely Weakens Endangered Species Act: 'This Could Be The Beginning Of The End'

Trump Admin Severely Weakens Endangered Species Act: 'This Could Be The Beginning Of The End'

New rules formed by Trump's cabinet reduces the amount of habitat set aside for wildlife by diminishing the 'Endangered Species Act' to quite an extent.

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973 is a key legislation for both domestic and international conservation. The act aims to provide a framework to conserve and protect endangered and threatened species and their habitats.

The ESA was signed into law by President Richard Nixon on December 28, 1973. Now, in August 2019, we have the Trump administration weakening this act, which has protected the bald eagle (our national bird), the American alligator, the California condor, the humpback whale and the grizzly bear from the brink of extinction. 



Officials in Trump's administration have reported that the new plan is merely going to "reduce regulations". But taking a closer look, one can agree with the various environmental groups who have declared that this new legislation will "crash a bulldozer" through the landmark 1973 legislation.

According to the new plan, automatic protection for threatened species (something that is highly important) will be removed and economic factors are also about to be cut short. 



Critics have outright spoken against the act, saying that these new rules will end up speeding the extinction of several vulnerable wildlife species. BBC has reported that up to ten state attorneys have announced that they plan to sue the federal government over the new regulation.

Within hours of Monday’s announcement, the state attorneys general of California and Massachusetts joined a conservation group, Defenders of Wildlife, in declaring the changes illegal and vowing to challenge them in court.  “You can anticipate that we will see many states join this action,” said Maura Healey, the attorney general of Massachusetts. “The way this was done was illegal under federal laws and this is an administration that needs to be held accountable.”



The changes were announced by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, who is a former oil lobbyist and a longtime member of the Republican party. Bernhardt said on Monday that the changes allow the act to "ensure it remains effective in achieving its ultimate goal - recovery of our rarest species,".  "An effectively administered act ensures more resources can go where they will do the most good: on-the-ground conservation."

Another official who supported the act's new changes were Gary Frazer, assistant director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Frazer said that that the cost of care will be disclosed to the public, and will not violate Congress' stipulation that economic costs will not be weighed. "Nothing in here in my view is a radical change for how we have been consulting and listing species for the last decade or so," he said.



As for some more critics who openly opposed the new legislations, Noah Greenwald, the endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity's aid, said in a statement that, "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," Greenwald added. Aside from him, Drew Caputo, from the group 'Earthjustice', threatened to sue as well, saying: "This effort to gut protections for endangered and threatened species has the same two features of most Trump administration actions: it's a gift to the industry, and it's illegal."



Democrat Senator Tom Udall, from the state of New Mexico, said that this new regulation will severely harm one of the oldest and most effective environmental laws in the country. Jamie Rappaport Clark, who led the Fish and Wildlife Service during the Clinton administration, said the people who have spent careers trying to recover and protect the nation’s endangered species find the Trump administration’s move “devastating.” “There is nothing biologically positive about the rules,” she said. “We will argue that they are illegal.” 


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