Thursday, 16 August, 2018

Trump Office Seeks Rule Changes For Endangered Species

Trump administration plan strips Endangered Species Act of key provisions The Endangered Species Act Is in the Trump Administration’s Crosshairs
Cary Marshall | 22 July, 2018, 04:38

Administration officials announced Thursday a new policy will reduce "conflict and uncertainty" surrounding species' statuses.

The Trump Administration wants to loosen up key provisions of the US Endangered Species Act.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) uses the term "threatened" to incorporate the different levels of potential extinctions certain plants and animals face.

There are hundreds of animal species listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, including the Yosemite toad, the piping plover and the northern spotted owl.

The proposals drew immediate condemnation from Democrats and some wildlife advocates.

"Unfortunately, the sweeping changes being proposed by the Trump administration include provisions that would undercut the effectiveness of the ESA and put species at risk of extinction", Clark said.

The proposal would alter how the Endangered Species Act deals with animals that are categorized as "threatened", or one level below "endangered".

Some species including gray wolves and grizzly retained protection for years after meeting their original recovery goals, often due to court orders resulting from environmentalists' lawsuits.

The proposal also rescinds what's known as the "blanket" Section 4 (d) Rule, which would effectively require tailored - potentially narrower - protections for species listed as threatened rather than extending to those species the same broad protections applied to the more serious category of endangered species.

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"This is not all good or all bad", he said.

Endangered species are now defined as "in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range", while threatened species are likely to become in danger of extinction within the "foreseeable future".

Under the proposal relating to federal consultations, impacts to critical habitat will be ignored unless they impact the entirety of an animal's habitat - ignoring the fact that "death by a thousand cuts" is the most common way wildlife declines toward extinction.

For example, the law now defines a threatened species as one "likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range". 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. Since the Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973, their numbers have soared to near 10,000.

"The administration is limited by an existing law that needs to be updated", Barrasso said.

Numerous proposed revisions have wide-reaching implications, including for how the federal government will protect species from climate change.

The Pacific Legal Foundation, a conservative law firm headquartered in California, lobbied for some of the changes.

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

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