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Recent California Water News


Trump's ESA

Aug 12, 2019

U.S. Significantly Weakens Endangered Species Act:  “The Trump administration on Monday announced that it would change the way the Endangered Species Act is applied, significantly weakening the nation’s bedrock conservation law credited with rescuing the bald eagle, the grizzly bear and the American alligator from extinction.  The changes will make it harder to consider the effects of climate change on wildlife when deciding whether a given species warrants protection. They would most likely shrink critical habitats and, for the first time, would allow economic assessments to be conducted when making determinations. ... ”  Read more from the New York Times here:  U.S. Significantly Weakens Endangered Species Act

Endangered Species: Trump admin rolls out rule changes to limit law’s reach:  “The Trump administration announced changes to Endangered Species Act rules today that complicate efforts to protect at-risk animals and plants by requiring higher standards for government action.  The new rules will apply only to future listing decisions. Plants and animals with existing protections won’t be affected unless their status changes.  Administration officials hailed the reforms as balancing conservation with economic interests. ... ”  Read more from E&E News here:  Endangered Species: Trump admin rolls out rule changes to limit law’s reach

California Attorney General Promises Suit Over Endangered Species Rollback:  “Within hours of the Trump administration’s announcement that it is rolling back enforcement of the landmark Endangered Species Act, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra vowed to mount a rigorous legal challenge.  During a hastily organized call with reporters, Becerra said the rollbacks put California’s threatened species at greater risk of extinction and promised to sue.  “We don’t look to pick a fight every time this administration decides to take an action,” he said. “But we challenge these actions by this administration because it is necessary.” … ”  Read more from KQED here: California Attorney General Promises Suit Over Endangered Species Rollback

Trump weakens Endangered Species Act; California promises to put up a fight:  “The Trump administration on Monday extended rollbacks of the nation’s environmental laws to the Endangered Species Act, a cardinal conservation program that’s helped keep wolves, whales and condors, among scores of other critters, flourishing across the West.  The plan put forth by the Interior Department changes the way the nearly half-century-old law is administered, potentially making it harder to win new protections for struggling plants and animals and maintain safeguards for already protected wildlife. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: Trump weakens Endangered Species Act; California promises to put up a fight

‘We’re ready to fight’: Wildlife activists vow to protect Endangered Species Act from Trump

Wildlife advocacy groups and two state attorneys general vowed to fight the Trump administration’s proposed regulatory change to the Endangered Species Act, arguing that it could threaten species ranging from the California condor to the monarch butterfly and the northern spotted owl.

Under the new regulations, species will be added to the threatened or endangered list “based solely on the best available scientific and commercial information,” which is a much more stringent interpretation of the law than current practice.

The Trump administration says it’s a necessary change to balance economic considerations with the law’s intent to protect endangered wildlife.


Trump overhauls endangered species protections  The Trump administration on Monday rolled out some of the broadest changes in decades to enforcement of the landmark Endangered Species Act, allowing the government to put an economic cost on saving a species and other changes critics contend could speed extinction for some struggling plants and animals. Ellen Knickmeyer Associated Press 

As Scientists Warn of Biodiversity Crisis, Trump Administration Guts Endangered Species Act:  The NRDC writes, “The Trump administration finalized its drastic rollback of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), just months after the United Nations released a dire report warning that one million species could go extinct if business continues as usual. “We’re facing an extinction crisis, and the administration is placing industry needs above the needs of our natural heritage,” says Rebecca Riley, legal director for NRDC’s Nature Program.  The changes to the law, released by the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Commerce, would change the rules for protecting imperiled species and economic factors into decisions regarding whether a species should be listed. “Science must guide our decisions, not dollar signs,” says Riley. “We shouldn’t use economic factors to decide whether a species should be saved.” … ”  Read more from the NRDC here: As Scientists Warn of Biodiversity Crisis, Trump Administration Guts Endangered Species Act

Who Benefits from Endangered Species Rollback? Big Polluters:  Jonathan Hahn writes, “At a time when the world’s leading scientists warn that human-caused global warming is precipitating a wildlife extinction crisis, the Trump administration has announced the most sweeping rollback of protections for endangered species in a generation.  Trump’s newly finalized regulations will significantly weaken the process for listing and enforcing Endangered Species Act protections and inject economic and potentially political considerations into that process where none had existed before. They will bring to an end automatic protections for threatened species, make it easier to delist species (by raising the bar for what evidence is required to show that a species is threatened and endangered), and limit the ways in which climate change can be factored into listing decisions in “the foreseeable future”—essentially removing climate change as a consideration just as the global climate crisis is accelerating. … ”  Read more from the Sierra Club here: Who Benefits from Endangered Species Rollback? Big Polluters

Democrats, environmentalists blast Trump rollback of endangered species protections:  “Democrats and environmentalists on Monday vowed to sue the Trump administration over a new regulation they say illegally dismantles the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The Interior Department announced Monday morning a series of changes to the law that would allow economic factors to be considered when listing a species while barring analysis of how climate change impacts plant and animal life.  … ”  Read more from The Hill here: Democrats, environmentalists blast Trump rollback of endangered species protections

Editorial: Trump guts the Endangered Species Act. Polar bears and bald eagles, take notice, says the LA Times:  They write, “The Trump administration announced reckless and potentially devastating new rules Monday that will weaken the Endangered Species Act, which currently bestows a mantle of protection over 1,663 species of animals and plants. Of those, 1,275 are considered endangered and close to extinction. Another 388 are listed as threatened — the polar bear is one — and at risk of becoming endangered.  In the 46 years since it was signed into law by President Richard Nixon, the Endangered Species Act has protected imperiled wildlife and brought many species back from the brink of extinction. The law is credited with saving such species as the bald eagle (which recovered sufficiently to be delisted), as well as the California condor and the grizzly bear, both of which are still considered endangered. So are the right whale, the San Joaquin kit fox, and the rusty patched bumblebee. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Editorial: Trump guts the Endangered Species Act. Polar bears and bald eagles, take notice