WASHINGTON — More than 200 conservation and animal-welfare organizations today urged Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in a letter to withdraw three dangerous proposals that would undermine the Endangered Species Act.
Today’s 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 The Trump/Zinke extinction plan must be rescinded.”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.
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.
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.
About Natural Resources Defense Council – Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, its lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit www.nrdc.org to learn more or follow on Twitter @NRDC.
About the Center for Biological Diversity - The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.