Public Comment Open: Should Trump Roll Back the Endangered Species Act?
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by Causes | 7.23.18
UPDATE - July 26, 2018:
- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are inviting public comment on their proposed overhaul of the Endangered Species Act. (Links to comment on each set of rule changes can be found below.)
- The changes could reduce protections for endangered animals and plants, and make it easier to remove species from the endangered list.
- The Trump administration say the proposed changes will “improve collaboration, efficiency, and effectiveness.” Conservationists argue that undoing the current protections could “slam a wrecking ball” into wildlife preservation.
The public has until September 24, 2018, to comment on each set of rule changes:
- Endangered and Threatened Species: Listing Species and Designating Critical Habitat
- Endangered and Threatened Species: Revision of Regulations for Prohibitions to Threatened Wildlife and Plants
- Endangered and Threatened Species: Interagency Cooperation
Countable's original story appears below.
Should the Trump Administration Overhaul the Endangered Species Act?
What’s the story?
- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have proposed sweeping changes to the Endangered Species Act, a 45-year-old law aimed at saving species that risk becoming endangered in the “foreseeable future.”
- The FWS and NOAA – which govern the ESA – said the proposed changes aim to “improve collaboration, efficiency, and effectiveness.”
- Conservationists argue that undoing the current protections could “slam a wrecking ball” into wildlife preservation.
What would the new proposals do?
- Make it easier to remove plants and animals from the list of protected species.
- End the blanket rule that gave threatened species the same protections as endangered species.
- Limit consultation between agencies.
- Create a tighter definition of “foreseeable future,” making it clear that it “extends only so far into the future as the [agencies] can reasonably determine” that the risk of extinction is probable.
- Add regulatory hurdles to the process of designating a critical habitat.
- Undo blanket critical-habitat policies, allowing for certain areas within critical habitats to be designated as non-critical.
- Currently, the ESA requires listing decisions to be made “solely on the basis of the best scientific and commercial data available” and “without reference to possible economic or other impacts of such determination.” The proposed changes remove the last line, allowing economics to factor in on decisions to protect species.
Why the change?
"One thing we [have] heard over and over again was that ESA implementation was not consistent and often times very confusing to navigate," FWS Principal Deputy Director Greg Sheehan said in a statement.
Sheehan said the changes would "produce the best conservation results for the species while reducing the regulatory burden on the American people."
What do you think?
Do you support the overhaul to the Endangered Species Act? Hit Take Action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.
(Photo Credit: NaluPhoto / iStock)
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