Published: Tue, August 13, 2019
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

States vow suit over endangered species rollback

States vow suit over endangered species rollback

The changes included allowing economic cost to be taken into account as the federal government weighs protecting a struggling species, although Congress has stipulated that economic costs not be a factor in deciding whether to protect an animal.

The weakening of the Acts 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 and logging on federal land.

Environmentalists have fought back with lawsuits, and some rollbacks have later been reinstated. "As a lobbyist and lawyer, Bernhardt sued the Interior Department over Endangered Species Act implementation", wrote Center for Western Priorities Executive Director Jennifer Rokala in a statement.

Species like the gray wolf saw their population decimated in the early 20th century, but staged a remarkable comeback thanks to the law - which was signed by former Republican president Richard Nixon in 1973 - and are now legally hunted in the Northern Rockies. Trump has often touted the administration's work in gutting regulations.

The changes to the act, however, were slammed by environmental groups who argue that these revisions will gut the protections afforded to endangered species and lead more wildlife toward the brink of extinction. Conservationists have also promised legal action.

Noah Greenwald, the Center for Biological Diversity's endangered species director, said the dramatic rule changes "could be the beginning of the end" for hundreds of species such as wolverines and monarch butterflies.

Gary Frazer, assistant director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, told reporters that cost of care will be disclosed to the public, and will not violate Congress' stipulation that economic costs not be weighed.

"We also are clear that we're continuing to make listing determinations as directed by the statute exclusively on the basis of the best available scientific information and without consideration for the economic impacts", Frazer said.

Boris Johnson criticises European Union lack of cooperation on Brexit deal
That's the so-called "no deal" option, which, unless there's a last minute compromise, will happen on the 31st of October.


Democratic Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico also criticized the plans.

"They're trying to narrow the evidence we can consider and narrow the scope of time we're going to be projecting the impact on these species ... limit the forward-looking data", like climate models, Riley said.

MA and California will lead a multi-state lawsuit joined by conservation groups once the final rule is published in the Federal Register in the coming weeks, challenging what they say was an "illegal" process to revise it. "We'll see the Trump administration in court about it", Drew Caputo, Earthjustice vice president of litigation for lands, wildlife, and oceans. said in a statement.

A United Nations report warned in May that more than 1 million plants and animals globally face extinction, some within decades, owing to human influence, climate change and other threats.

The report, written by seven experts from universities across the world, directly linked the loss of species to human activity and showed how those losses are undermining food and water security, along with human health.

"There were some tears shed", Entz said, of the moment when tribal officials realized the animal had dwindled in the wild past the point of saving.

"There's times where hope is something you don't even want to talk about", he said.

Potential threats to business opportunities and other costs of listing a species [as endangered] must now be considered and shared with the public.

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