Sen. Tom Udall, D-New Mexico, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, D-Arizona, Rep. Don Beyer, D-Virginia and Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Michigan introduced a piece of legislation last Tuesday that will essentially undo the Trump administration’s attempts to weaken the Endangered Species Act.
Last month the Trump administration unveiled its planned changes to the Endangered Species Act, which would allow the administration to ignore long-term threats to wildlife from climate change and remove protections to threatened species listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, undermining the entire purpose of the legislation. The changes also removed a blanket rule that gave threatened and endangered species equal protection.
Passed in 1973, the Endangered Species Act is one of our country’s most long-standing and successful laws, as 99% of species under the Endandgered Species Act have not gone extinct, and is also responsible for protecting our nation’s most beloved animals, such as the bald eagle, gray whale and grizzly bear to name a few.
In a time where the harsh realities of climate change and global warming are becoming increasingly evident, protecting the planet’s endangered wildlife should be a top priority. Instead, the Trump administration decided that there are more pressing matters.
“For more than 40 years, the ESA has been a pillar of environmental protection in this nation. Its success – and its support among the American people – are undeniable,” Udall said in a statement. “But this administration’s determination to dismantle bedrock environmental laws, turn a blind eye to science, and roll over for special interests apparently knows no bounds.”
The administration claimed that the new regulations to the Endandgered Species Act were all in an effort to increase effectiveness and transparency with the public. The proposed changes however, will only leave threatened species unprotected and would allow development in crucial habitats.
The proverb: ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,’ comes to mind. If the Endangered Species Act is one of the most successful pieces of legislation passed in the last 50 years, why did it need to be changed?
Luckily, many others like Grijalva and Dingell shared Udall’s perspective and the changes to the Endandgered Species Act are now working to be appealed. Udall’s bill currently has 12 co-sponsors in the Senate and 23 in the House of Representatives.