Maine Conservationists Decry Changes To Endangered Species Act

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"It looks like they're trying to say, if you are a sea- ice dependent species we're not going to protect that sea ice habitat as critical habitat", she said.

Today, the Trump administration released a final rule dismantling the role of science in informing protections for endangered and threatened wildlife.

"As a whole, the rule changes are political, unwise, and will only increase litigation", Sarah Greenberger, senior vice president for conservation policy at the National Audubon Society, said in an online statement provided to MTV News.

Washington, D.C. - The Trump administration finalized its sweeping rewrite of Endangered Species Act (ESA) regulations today that undermine the conservation of threatened and endangered species.

Under the previous law, which gave protection to endangered animals and wildlife in the U.S.by classifying certain species as being endangered or threatened, threatened species were protected with the same measure as endangered animals. Now there is no significant difference in protections for non-marine wildlife listed as "threatened" versus those designated as "endangered". The Trump administration has cherry-picked scientific evidence to make a case to delist the gray wolf across the country, rolled back conservation plans for the sage grouse, and suppressed publication of research conducted by federal scientists demonstrating three pesticides alone jeopardize the continued existence of more than 1200 endangered or threatened species.

The changes, which could lead to extinction for hundreds of animals and plants, are illegal and will be challenged in court, warned the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity. "The Act's effectiveness rests on clear, consistent and efficient implementation", U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt said in a statement.

Factoring in the cost of saving endangered species would likely have prevented other species from being listed in recent years, such as the red knot, a bird that flies through MA and will soon also be listed as a threatened species, wildlife advocates said. In 2017, TIRN joined more than 420 conservation organizations in signing a letter to Congress opposing any weakening of the Endangered Species Act.

"It is particularly egregious that the Trump Administration is steamrolling through unpopular rules issued by an Interior Secretary embroiled in at least 17 scandals", Endangered Species Coalition Executive Director Leda Huta said in a statement. The administration says the changes will reduce regulatory burdens while still protecting struggling species.

Open the door for the economic impacts of listing a species to be evaluated and presented in the listing rules. This disregards the cumulative "death-by-a-thousand-cuts" process that is the most common way wildlife declines toward extinction. The rollbacks will also preclude designation of critical habitat for areas where species need to move to avoid climate impacts.

Gary Frazer, an assistant director at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, told reporters that the government would adhere to that by disclosing the costs to the public, without it being a factor for the officials considering the protections. "We shouldn't use economic factors to decide whether a species should be saved".

"The regulations" take a wrecking ball to one of our oldest and most effective environmental laws, the Endangered Species Act", Sen.

The current chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Senator John Barrasso, a Wyoming Republican, said, "Congress needs to work across party lines to find common ground". "In the four decades since the Endangered Species Act became law, 99% of species protected under the Endangered Species Act have not perished".

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