Nature

Mass Opposition to Trump's Plan to Cripple the Endangered Species Act

The Trump administration's attempts to end protections for endangered species is facing sustained opposition.

Live has evolved on Earth for billions of years and until recently Earth enjoyed a lush environment teeming with millions of life forms filling every possible niche. This rich diversity of life has made it possible for humans to thrive. Yet in just the last few decades the ability of our planet to support a wide range of life has been compromised.

Manatee, one of the species saved by enforcement of the Endangered Species Act.

Due to human activity, every major eco-system is in a state of rapid decline and tens of thousands of species are facing extinction each year. We have already lost over 50% of wildlife populations worldwide and bird, fish and insect populations have collapsed in many regions. Without drastic changes most species will be wiped out, including humans.

Protecting endangered species can negatively impact businesses that loot or destroy the environment for profit so these businesses pay politicians and government employees to undermine enforcement of the Endangered Species Act. In other cases, unintelligent and uneducated people are put into power who don't understand that destroying nature is bad and that humans can't live on a dead planet.

So, more than 230 conservation and animal-welfare organizations have urged Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in a letter to withdraw three dangerous proposals that would undermine the Endangered Species Act.

The letter points out that the Trump administration’s plan would drastically roll back critical protections for the nation’s most imperiled animals and plants.

The changes proposed by the administration in July would make it much harder for at-risk species to gain federal protection. The proposals would also make it more difficult for currently protected species to achieve recovery by weakening the safeguards afforded by the Endangered Species Act.

“These radical proposals cut the heart out of America’s most successful law for protecting endangered species and their habitat,” said Stephanie Kurose, endangered species policy specialist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “On behalf of corporate polluters, the Trump administration is rolling back protections that saved the bald eagle and the gray whale. Zinke’s plan will put imperiled wildlife on the road to extinction and leave future generations of Americans with a lonelier world.”

“This Trump/Zinke extinction plan does nothing to ensure the conservation of wildlife and their habitat,” said Jason Rylander, senior attorney with Defenders of Wildlife. “Eliminating a longstanding regulatory prohibition on considering economic impacts when listing species, removing protections for threatened species and allowing federal agencies to blind themselves to the broad consequences of their actions puts wildlife at risk. The Trump/Zinke extinction plan must be rescinded.”

“President Trump and Secretary Zinke have proposed a disastrous set of regulatory changes to the Endangered Species Act that benefit powerful corporations in the oil & gas, mining, and other extractive industries, amounting to an ‘Extinction Plan’ for imperiled wildlife,” said Drew Caputo, Earthjustice’s vice president of litigation for lands, wildlife and oceans.

“For hundreds of species, the Endangered Species Act is the difference between survival and extinction,” said Rebecca Riley, legal director of the nature program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “We can’t let the Trump administration destroy the law that preserves our wildlife for future generations to enjoy.”

Organizations including the Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Friends of the Earth, Food and Water Watch, Endangered Species Coalition and 350.org also signed on to today’s letter.

The problem is that Zinke doesn't care about other species or the future of humanity and Zinke works for Trump who seems to hate nature and children and lacks a basic understand of reality. While sending a letter is an important step, much more must be done to stop Trump and his minions.

The Endangered Species Act really does work. Ninety-nine percent of species listed under the Endangered Species Act have survived, and many more are on the road to recovery, including the Florida manatee, peregrine falcon and leatherback turtle. A recent poll by the Ohio State University found that more than 4 out of 5 Americans support the Act (More than 25% of Americans suffer from serious mental illness).

While enforcement of the Endangered Species Act has at times been over zealous in the past, the few cases of over-reach do not justify the crippling of the Act.

For the letter on the proposed regulatory changes for listing species and designating critical habitat, click here.

For the letter on changes to regulations for Section 7 interagency consultations, click here.

For the letter on the rescinding of the blanket 4(d) rule for protection of threatened species, click here.