Posted by: Sandy Steinman | April 7, 2018

Dept. Of Interior Proposes Ending Protection 300 Threatened Species

Center for Biological Diversity News Release

Trump Administration Proposes Ending Most Protections for Nearly 300 Threatened Species

Rule Would Eliminate 40-year-old Protective Framework in Major Gift to Polluters

WASHINGTON— The U.S. Department of the Interior quietly sent a proposed rule to the White House on Monday that would effectively rescind most protections for nearly 300 species designated as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

The rule targets about 70 species in California, another 20 in Hawaii, and scores more fish, birds, mammals and plants around the country. They include southern sea otters, northern spotted owls, piping plovers, red knots, Yosemite toads, delta smelt, Santa Catalina Island foxes and gopher tortoises. (A full list is available on request).

Monday’s proposal would rescind a crucial 40-year-old rule. In 1975 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service enacted a rule granting threatened species the same level of protection as endangered species; only if the Service determined that fewer protections were warranted could protections be relaxed.

“The Trump administration just issued a death sentence to nearly 300 threatened species,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “If enacted, this rule could be the end for iconic wildlife like the northern spotted owl and southern sea otter. Trump is erasing America’s natural heritage to make his friends richer and allow polluters to ravage our environment. It’s disgraceful.”

In 2016 an extreme right-wing advocacy group called the Pacific Legal Foundation petitioned the Fish and Wildlife Service to rescind the 1975 protective regulation. The petition was authored by Damien Schiff, who was later nominated by President Trump to be a federal judge.

“If these critical protections for threatened species are eliminated, Trump will go down in history as the extinction president,” said Greenwald. “This administration’s assault on critical safeguards for our air, water and wildlife is not supported by the American public. It threatens to undo decades of progress towards improving the health of the environment for people and wildlife alike.”


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