The Trump administration today released a proposed rule that seeks to weaken the Endangered Species Act (ESA), according to Oceana. The ESA, which was passed in Congress with strong bipartisan support and signed into law by President Richard Nixon in 1973, serves to protect and conserve threatened and endangered species, and the areas they need to survive and recover. This proposed rule would create a new definition for “habitat” that would likely omit areas that are in need of restoration before they could again be suitable for supporting threatened or endangered species.
Lara Levison, Oceana’s senior federal policy director, released the following statement in response to the draft regulations:
“Following the announcement earlier this month on the National Environmental Policy Act, President Trump is back for another whack at another key environmental law. President Trump is now taking aim at the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The president’s newly proposed rules will make it even harder to save species from extinction. The ESA protects threatened and endangered species like sea turtles and the North Atlantic right whale, as well as the habitats they depend on, but the draft rule released today reduces these protections.
More than 99% of species protected by the ESA have survived, and many more are on a path to recovery. This science-based law has helped prevent imperiled wildlife — including gray whales, brown pelicans and American bald eagles — from vanishing forever.
Habitat loss is the single largest driver of extinction. Last year, a landmark international report confirmed that the accelerating loss of biodiversity across the globe is driven heavily by massive loss of habitat on land and sea.
With 1 million species at risk of extinction worldwide, it is unconscionable that President Trump would propose to scale back essential protections for endangered and threatened species and their critical habitat.”
For more information about the ESA, please click here.