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What Did Trump Do To The Endangered Species Act

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Will Trumps Endangered Species Alteration Hurt The $25 Billion Restoration Economy

How Trump plans to change the Endangered Species Act

Republican lawmakers have been reticent about directly attacking popular laws like the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act, but the Trump Administration has chosen to undermine them by stealth specifically by making changes to the rules it creates for implementing them. A new change to the Endangered Species Act aims to make the law more business-friendly, but chances are it will only be friendly to a few businesses, like mining and logging.

16 August 2019 | The Trump Administration says it improved the Endangered Species Act this week by creating a new rule that incorporates the cost of lost profits from logging, mining, and other operations into the process of identifying endangered species.

The rule has been rightly slammed for reducing environmental protections and excluding climate impacts from habitat decisions, but it should also be slammed for its impact on rural American workers.

It could hit them hard.

Thats partly because profits arent jobs. In fact, theyre often the opposite: companies save money by cutting jobs, and the ESA helps support a $25 billion restoration economy that directly employs 126,000 people and supports 95,000 other jobs mostly in small businesses according to a 2015 survey that environmental economist Todd BenDor conducted through the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Thats more jobs than logging, more than coal mining, and more than iron and steel, as you can see here:

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In 2021, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service, filed a motion to remand the rules voluntarily in response to the environmental groups’ lawsuit.

The federal agencies asked the court to let them partially rewrite the Endangered Species Act regulations while keeping them in place, so that the agencies could conduct a review process of the changes before taking action. Such a process could take months or years to complete, according to environmental groups.

But the court decided to instead void the Trump-era changes altogether, arguing there was no reason to keep rules that were going to be changed anyway.

“Regardless of whether this Court vacates the 2019 Rules, they will not remain in effect in their current form,” Tigar wrote in his ruling.

“The court spoke for species desperately in need of comprehensive federal protections without compromise,” Kristen Boyles, an attorney at Earthjustice, said in a statement. “Threatened and endangered species do not have the luxury of waiting under rules that do not protect them.”

Markets Can Reduce Regulations

Nature is complex, and rigid regulations often fail to address that complexity, as environmental economist Todd BenDor makes clear when he points to regulations requiring the placement of silt fences in new subdivisions along waterways.

Theyre supposed to prevent erosion, but they often fail or are put in the wrong places, he says. Markets can simply enact a limit on erosion, allowing the landowner the freedom to be creative and efficient in any way they see fit in order to meet that limit.

Done right, environmental markets can replace overly prescriptive regulations, but they still require government oversight and regulation.

Markets are entirely reliant on strong monitoring, verification, and enforcement of limits, says BenDor. Provisions must be made to ensure that, but in reality its often a problem.

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The Fence Post: Trump Administration Revises Endangered Species Act Rules

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations National Marine Fisheries Service jointly announced revisions to regulations that implement portions of the Endangered Species Act. Agriculture groups that have criticized the rules for decades immediately praised the Trump administrations actions while environmental groups denounced them.

Trump Administration Improves The Implementing Regulations Of The Endangered Species Act

U.S. Grizzly Hunt Is Scratched in Wyoming and Fur Flies Over Bear ...

Species recovery the ultimate goal


Washington – In its more than 45-year history, the Endangered Species Act has catalyzed countless conservation partnerships that have helped recover some of Americas most treasured animals and plants from the bald eagle to the American alligator. Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt unveiled improvements to the implementing regulations of the ESA designed to increase transparency and effectiveness and bring the administration of the Act into the 21st century.

The best way to uphold the Endangered Species Act is to do everything we can to ensure it remains effective in achieving its ultimate goalrecovery of our rarest species. The Acts effectiveness rests on clear, consistent and efficient implementation, said Secretary Bernhardt. An effectively administered Act ensures more resources can go where they will do the most good: on-the-ground conservation.

The revisions finalized with this rulemaking fit squarely within the Presidents mandate of easing the regulatory burden on the American public, without sacrificing our species protection and recovery goals, said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. These changes were subject to a robust, transparent public process, during which we received significant public input that helped us finalize these rules.

The final regulations submitted to the Federal Register can be found here: .

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A Culmination Of Many Battles

The ESA was signed into law during the Nixon administration in 1973. It requires the Fish and Wildlife Service, along with the National Marine Fisheries Service, to identify and protect species facing the risk of extinction. Under the law, if a species is listed as endangered or threatened, FWS and NMFS can prohibit people from hunting or harvesting that species or damaging certain areas of its habitat. Species added to the lists also get recovery plans, usually implemented largely at the state level, to help the species numbers rebound.

Since 1973, 1,650 animal and plant species have been listed, and 85 species have later been removed from the list, either because they recovered or went extinct.

The newly announced changes in how the Endangered Species Act is implemented come on the heels of two years of vigorous but ineffective efforts by Congressional Republicans to overhaul the ESA itself. Since 2016, about two dozen bills seeking to weaken the ESA have either been introduced in Congress or proposed by the Trump administration. These have included several bills targeting protections for individual species, which conflict with various industries interest in development.

How Will The Changes Impact At

After the rule change, species at-risk will be analyzed on a case-by-case basis. The new rules are not retroactive, meaning protections in place for the species already listed as endangered and threatened will not change.

The details of how this works out on a case-by-case basis will really show us what this means going forward, but there are some concerns from the conservation community, says Jon Beckmann, conservation scientist at the Wildlife Conservation Society. Beckmann, who has worked in conservation of grizzly bears and other endangered species, tells TIME theres uncertainty going forward over how difficult it might be to classify a species as endangered or threatened, and what protections can be established to recover species that do end up on the list.

We understand as conservationists that peoples livelihoods and economics are part of the fabric of conservation we work in, Beckmann says. Obviously economics and peoples livelihoods needs to be part of the conversation in the equation when were talking about how best to recover species or to mitigate the impact, but theres just concern that itll be economics that drive the listing process.

But despite that, the act has been remarkably effective in preventing extinction, Gerber says. And I attribute that to the success of the act.

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The Endangered Species Act

The Obama Administration created a regulation that put hundreds of endangered plants and animals at greater risk of extinction by dramatically reducing protections for their designated critical habitat.

The administration issued a policy that allows the FWS to exclude areas from critical habitat based on, in many cases, vague promises from landowners to conserve habitat.

The administration enacted a policy that drastically limits which species get protection in the first place by changing the significant portion of range provision.

ESA 4 rule loophole

The 4 rule was created to provide the USFWS with flexibility to protect threatened species. However, it has been exploited and used as a loophole to weaken or not protect species at all. The Center for Biological Diversity found that the Obama Administration used this detrimental loophole more than any other Administration.

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Washington Post: To Save Endangered Species Environmentalists Need To Listen To Their Fiercest Critics

The Trump Administration Announces Rules Weakening Endangered Species Act | The 11th Hour | MSNBC

But missing from most of the coverage of the rule changes were the voices of people who had often paid a steep price for those success stories: loggers put out of work by the Spotted Owls ESA listing in 1990 or ranchers whose herds had been attacked by grey wolves. These men and women who work in resource extraction industries actually care deeply for the land and have a long and proud tradition of fighting to protect nature. Yet they are siding with the Trump Administration over the ESA rule changes. And thats the result of decades of environmentalists ignoring the economic consequences of the ESA on these populations.

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Biodiversity Crisis Needs Emergency Response

The sixth mass extinction of wildlife is accelerating and scientists warn it may be a tipping point for the collapse of civilization.



President Obama nominated a very moderate Secretary of Interior. Salazars voting record while in Congress was weak in the arenas most important to a Secretary of the Interior: protecting scientific integrity, combating global warming, reforming energy development and protecting endangered species.

Extinction Crisis Looms As Trump Attacks Endangered Species Act

Earthjustices Drew Caputo breaks down recent rollbacks aimed at the Endangered Species Act, and what theyll mean for the future of our most imperiled species.

A juvenile grizzly stands in a summer wildflower field in Yellowstone National Park. The Trump administrationâs Endangered Species Act rollbacks imperil grizzlies and many other species.

This week, the Trump administration finalized rules that overhaul the enforcement of the Endangered Species Act, a bedrock environmental law that is both widely popular among the public and remarkably successful in protecting imperiled wildlife. The rollbacks come on the heels of several scientific reports warning that, as our planet heads straight toward a climate crisis, biological diversity is in a freefall and species extinction rates are accelerating.

For decades, Earthjustice has used the Endangered Species Act to protect wildlife like grizzles, wolves, and salmon. Weve secured and defended endangered species protections for countless plants and animals and our fights continue.

Drew Caputo, Earthjustices Vice President of Litigation for Lands, Wildlife, and Oceans, breaks down the rollbacks, who benefits from them, and how they threaten the future of our planet.

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One Change Had Allowed Economic Factors To Be Considered On Whether To List A Species As Threatened Or Endangered

A federal judge in California threw out Trump-era changes to the Endangered Species Act, including one that allowed economic factors to be considered on whether to list a species as threatened or endangered.

The ruling Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar in Oakland, Calif., also voids regulations that made it more difficult to give protections to species threatened by anticipated future events, such as the impacts of climate change.

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Changes Alter The Rules That Say How Federal Agencies Should Implement The Esa

TrumpWatch with Jesse Lent

by Kiona N. Smith – Aug 13, 2019 3:12 pm UTC

After two years of review and revision, the US Fish and Wildlife Service announced a set of changes to the regulations that spell out how it will implement parts of the Endangered Species Act. The changes focus on how officials should decide whether to list a species as endangered or threatened, what kind of protections threatened species should receive, and how officials will decide which areas of habitat to protect.

In practice, the changes may weaken the Endangered Species Acts protections. Depending on how this and future administrations interpret the wording of the regulation, these changes could make it easier to remove species from the endangered and threatened species lists. The wording may also give officials tacit permission to dismiss climate change as an irrelevant threat to species survival and to consider economic factors when theyre deciding whether to protect a species.

There were many signs this was coming. The Trump administration proposed some of the revisions, including removing the phrase without reference to economic impact, last July. And overall, this batch of regulatory changes fits into the administrations broader theme of eliminating regulation and rolling back environmental protections.

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Us Significantly Weakens Endangered Species Act

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By Lisa Friedman

WASHINGTON The Trump administration on Monday announced that it would change the way the Endangered Species Act is applied, significantly weakening the nations bedrock conservation lawand making it harder to protect wildlife from the multiple threats posed by climate change.

The new rules would make it easier to remove a species from the endangered list and weaken protections for threatened species, the classification one step below endangered. And, for the first time, regulators would be allowed to conduct economic assessments for instance, estimating lost revenue from a prohibition on logging in a critical habitat when deciding whether a species warrants protection.

Critically, the changes would also make it more difficult for regulators to factor in the effects of climate change on wildlife when making those decisions because those threats tend to be decades away, not immediate.

Over all, the revised rules appear very likely to clear the way for new mining, oil and gas drilling, and development in areas where protected species live.

The new rules are expected to go into effect next month.

Environmental groups, Democratic state attorneys general and Democrats in Congress denounced the changes and vowed to challenge them in Congress and in the courts.

Biden To Reverse Two Harmful Trump Rules That Limited Endangered Species Act Protections

These rules were blatantly reckless and anti-wildlife. Amid a biodiversity and climate crisis, its frustrating that so much time has to be spent undoing the former administrations damage. But this was time well spent, and we thank the Biden administration for these important actions.

Jamie Rappaport Clark, President and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife.

Today, the Biden administration announced it is reversing two harmful Trump administration rules that undermine the Endangered Species Act , the bedrock law that protects our nations wildlife from extinction.

These rules were blatantly reckless and anti-wildlife, said Jamie Rappaport Clark, president and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife. Amid a biodiversity and climate crisis, its frustrating that so much time has to be spent undoing the former administrations damage. But this was time well spent, and we thank the Biden administration for these important actions.

Broadly, the two rules had altered the way critical habitat is designated.

Critical habitat is the habitat that scientists deem essential to the conservation of endangered or threatened species. Under the ESA, critical habitat is only designated after weighing the costs and benefits of conservation.

Lastly, the Biden administration previously announced it will adjust the Trump rule that stripped species from presumptive protection under the ESA. Until Trump, automatic protections for threatened species had been the norm since 1978.

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The Trump Administration And Esa

  • Finalized five rules that weaken protections for threatened species and consultation requirements, allow consideration of economic impacts, rather than just science, when doing listing determinations make it more difficult to consider impacts from climate change on imperiled wildlife and weaken the critical habitat protection provisions.
  • Finalized wolf delisting rule, removing all protections of grey wolves in the lower 48.

This Rollback Is Just The Latest Attempt By The Trump Administration To Gut Environmental Laws What Motivates You To Keep Fighting

Why You Should Care About The Endangered Species Act | Opinions | NowThis

I think we can use the law to make sure America and the world is a cleaner, greener, and more just place. Over the past two years, the courts have been handing Trump one loss after another, ruling that the administration cannot flout the requirements of existing environmental laws. When were able to do things like block a completely senseless action thats going to resolve in several dozen dead grizzly bears, I feel like were doing a service not just for the bears and for the millions of people who care about them, were doing it for future generations.

On a more personal level, Ive seen a grizzly bear in the wild. It is a majestic sight. They are one of the living embodiments of what it means to be wild. I was able to see that grizzly because my parents and their parents before me made a decision to protect that species. I want my kids and their kids kids to be able to see them in the wild the way that I did. To be able to strike a blow against the Trump administration by using the law and to be heard in court on behalf of the millions of Americans and our client groups, that is inspiring.

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