The Trump administration on Monday took significant steps to weaken the US Endangered Species Act
The 1970s- era US Endangered Species Act, which has been lauded for bringing back species that were at the risk of extinction, was weakened by the Trump Administration. The law helped in bringing back species such as the bald eagles, gray whales, and grizzly bears. Following the move, State attorneys general and conservation groups threatened to take legal action in order to protect the wildlife species.
The much-anticipated changes were promulgated by the Interior and Commerce departments. The changes are part of President Donald Trump’s mandate to reduce government regulations on corporations, primarily the drilling and mining companies that want to work on protected land.
“The revisions finalized with this rulemaking fit squarely within the president’s mandate of easing the regulatory burden on the American public, without sacrificing our species’ protection and recovery goals,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross averred. “These changes were subject to a robust, transparent public process, during which we received significant public input that helped us finalize these rules,” he further added. The new laws will be effectuated 30 days after it is published in the Federal Register.
After the changes were announced, the state attorneys general of California and Massachusetts became part of conservation group Defenders of Wildlife and vowed to challenge the move in court.
Maura Healey, the attorney general of Massachusetts, divulged her views regarding the changes and said, “The way this was done was illegal under federal laws and this is an administration that needs to be held accountable.”
Jamie Rappaport Clark, who headed the Fish and Wildlife Service during the Clinton administration, called the move “devastating” and said that “there is nothing biologically positive about the rules”. “We will argue that they are illegal,” she further stated.