On August 12, the Trump administration released crucial changes to the Endangered Species Act, which, if implemented next month, will affect both people and wildlife. Critics of the new measures, announced by the Fish and Wildlife Service, say the changes weaken the protection of many species and potentially open large tracts of land for oil and gas development, even as carbon dioxide emissions continue. heat the planet.
The Endangered Species Act was created in 1973 under President Nixon with bipartisan support to help conserve endangered wildlife due to human activity. Since then, he has been credited with preventing the eradication of 1,950 of the 1,650 species he has preserved. The latest changes to the law threaten the survival of many species, say conservationists.
"The law has been very successful and has helped to restore species such as the bald eagle over the past 40 years. And so we should let it work instead of paralyzing it, "said Kirin Kennedy, deputy legislative director for Sierra Club's public lands and wildlife protection. The edge.
The changes make it more difficult to argue that climate change poses a risk the survival of a species, which is particularly alarming given the recent report which has revealed that nearly one million species are at risk of extinction as a result of human activity, including the burning of fossil fuels. Another change weakens protections for species considered endangered in the future – the lower threshold being threatened. Currently all endangered species enjoy the same protection as endangered species under the law. But soon, the protections granted to each of the threatened species listed in the future could rather be evaluated on a case by case basis. In addition to this, regulators can now consider how much it could cost to protect a species when decisions are made on the list.
But there are also consequences for man and planet if the Endangered Species Act is weakened. By facilitating the removal of species from the list of endangered and endangered wildlife species, lands that were once banned are likely to become a children's game to unearth more fossil fuels contributing to pollution and climate change.
Critics of the law have long argued that this hampers economic development by excluding industries from resource-rich areas that harbor endangered or threatened species. The American Petroleum Institute said in a statement that it "welcomed"The new changes. US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in another declaration"The revisions finalized with this regulation fit perfectly within the president's mandate to ease the regulatory burden on the American public without sacrificing the protection and recovery objectives of our species."
Environmental advocates, including organizations such as the Sierra Club and Washington State Governor Jay Inslee (who has positioned himself as the climatic candidate in the primary primary Democratic), meanwhile, sing another melody.
"The weakening of the Endangered Species Act aims to facilitate coal mining and oil drilling," Inslee said. tweeted On Monday "So it's not bad for the bald eagle or the grizzly bear – it's bad for our kids and their health."
Kirin Kennedy from the Sierra Club told The edge"The lack of clean air due to the pollution caused by the extractive industries also means a lack of clean air for human populations. So what the Endangered Species Act does by providing protections for wildlife has an upstream impact on humans. "
Some humans will feel this impact sooner than others. "Aboriginal people were at the forefront of the struggle to preserve (the Endangered Species Act) the protection of the sacred grizzly bear," said Tom Rodgers, Vice President of the Global Indigenous Council and Senior Advisor Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council. The edge in an email. Attempts to prematurely remove species from the list of endangered and threatened species, according to Rodgers, "are" Trojan horses "for tribal sovereignty, treaty rights and religious freedoms."
The Blackfoot Confederacy, which includes the Piikani Nation, the Blackfeet Nation, the Siksika Nation, and the Blood Tribe, has fought for a decade to protect the Yellowstone grizzly bear under the Species Act. Endangered. Fish and Wildlife Service was forced to comply with the orders of a judge reintegrate grizzly bears threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
They dodged a ball by beating the recently announced rule change – threatened grizzlies will still benefit from most of the protections available under the current Endangered Species Act, but other species could to be affected in the future by the new measure at issue. The rule change must already be challenged in the courts by the California and Massachusetts Attorneys General. If these problems persist, they would join a long list of other environmental issues related to the Trump administration's policies, including a massive lawsuit challenging the dismantling of the Obama administration's emissions reduction plan. Kennedy also tells The edge that the Sierra Club is considering its legal options in defense of the Endangered Species Act.
"Our precious wildlife and ecosystems are in critical danger. By restoring the Endangered Species Act, the Trump Administration would put a nail in our coffin – all with the goal of increasing the profits of those who put these species at risk in the first place said Xavier Becerra, Attorney General of California, in a Press release. "We are ready to fight to preserve this important law – the species with which we share this planet and on which we rely deserve nothing less."