WASHINGTON – The Trump administration announced Monday that it would amend the application of the Endangered Species Act ascribing the Nation's Conservation Law to the Rescue of the Bald Eagle, the Grizzly Bear, and the American , Alligator is significantly weakened from extinction.
The changes make it difficult to consider the impact of climate change on wildlife when deciding whether a particular species deserves protection. They would most likely shrink critical habitats and make it possible for the first time to carry out economic evaluations .
Overall, the new regulations would most likely pave the way for new mining, oil and gas drilling and development in areas where protected species live.
Home Secretary David Bernhardt said the changes would modernize the Law on Endangered Species and increase transparency in its application. "The effectiveness of the law is based on a clear, consistent and efficient implementation," he said in a statement on Monday.
Trade Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement that the revisions "fit in perfectly with the mandate of the President to reduce the regulatory burden on the American public without sacrificing the protection and recreational goals of our species." will be published this week in the Federal Register and will come into force 30 days later.
Environmental organizations denounced the changes as a disaster for endangered wildlife.
David J. Hayes, Deputy Minister of the Interior in the Obama Administration and now executive director of the State Energy and Environmental Impact Center at the New York University School of Law, said the changes would overstretch scientists' consideration of climate change " when it comes to how best to protect wildlife. "We all know that climate change today poses the greatest threat to hundreds of species," Hayes said.
Some environmentalists recently warned in a UN assessment that human pressure is threatening to drive millions of species under threat of extinction, and protecting land and biodiversity is critical to keeping greenhouse gas emissions in check.
Climate change, lack of environmental responsibility and mass industrialization have all contributed to the huge expected global losses according to the United Nations report.
Since President Richard M. Nixon signed the agreement, the law on endangered species was put into effect in 1973. It was the most important law of the United States for the protection of fish, plants and wildlife and served as a safety net for endangered species. The peregrine falcon, the humpback whale, the Tennessee Purple Coneflower and the Florida Manatee would most likely have disappeared without it, scientists say.
Republicans have long attempted to narrow the scope of the law, claiming that it incriminates landowners and disabled industries and inhibits economic growth. Mr. Bernhardt wrote in last summer that the law imposed "unnecessary regulatory burden" on companies.
They also argue that the law is not sensible because species are rarely removed from the list. Since the passing of the law, more than 1,650 have been classified as threatened or threatened with extinction, while only 47 have been delisted due to limiting their population .
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Over the past two years, Republicans have made a major legislative move to revise the law. Despite the majority in both chambers of Congress, the proposals in the Senate were never taken up. With the democrats now in control of the house, there is little chance that these laws will be passed.
However, the revision of the law implementing the law by the Trump government means that the opponents of the Endangered Species Act are still ready to claim this as their biggest victory in decades.
One of the most controversial changes eliminates the long-standing language that prohibits the consideration of economic factors when deciding on the protection of a species.
Under current law, such findings must be made solely on the basis of science, "without reference to possible economic or other effects of the provision."
Gary Frazer, Deputy Director of Endangered Species at the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, said that this phrase was deleted for reasons of "transparency", saying the change leaves the possibility of conducting economic analysis for information purposes, but decisions the listing of species would continue to be based exclusively on science.
Environmental groups saw in it a danger. "Protecting endangered species can bring economic costs," said Drew Caputo, vice president of land, wildlife and oceans litigation at Earthjustice, an environmental organization. But he said, "If we make decisions based on short-term economic costs, we will have many more extinct species." the term "foreseeable future". This is a semantic change with far-reaching implications as regulators can ignore the effects of extreme heat, drought, rising sea levels and other climate change impacts that may occur in a few decades.  When Frazer was questioned about this change and its impact on the climate change era, he said the agency did not want to make far-sighted "speculative" decisions.
Mr. Caputo listed a few: polar bears and seals losing crucial sea ice; Crying cranes whose migration patterns shift due to temperature changes; and beluga whales, who must dive deeper and longer to find food in a warmer Arctic.
Jonathan Wood, attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation, a conservative group that has represented landowners in rejecting endangered species names said that the amendments would improve the law by simplifying the regulatory process and the law make less punishable.
"It is a departure from the conflict in favor of more cooperation and cooperation," he said.