Wednesday, August 14, 2019

What's The Bald Eagle When There's Money To Be Made?

The Trump Administration announced a major revision to the Endangered Species Act on Monday, August 12, 2019, reducing regulations by ending blanket protections for animals newly deemed threatened and allowing federal authorities to take economic costs of protecting a species into account.  The new rules also impose limitations on how threats are determined. Previously, officials could take into account factors that could harm species in the foreseeable future. Lawmakers now have much more discretion in defining the foreseeable future.

And in designating critical habitats, regulators are to reassess the lands that are currently occupied by threatened or endangered species before adding/looking at unoccupied lands.  To “reduce the potential for additional regulatory burden that results from a designation when species are not present in that area.  Despite the fact that some species are endangered because they’ve been cornered in a small corner of the earth and a larger designated area is needed to help bring them back. 

It’s odd that this is now a target of the Republican Party, when it was signed into law by President Richard Nixon in 1973.  The Act currently protects 1,663 animal and plant species - 388 of which are considered threatened and 1,275 which are endangered.  It is credited with helping bring multiple species back from near extinction including the bald eagle, the humpback whale, the California Condor, and the American alligator.  

So why is it a problem now?

Sure, that's what we need - to continue to prop up and subsidize the oil, gas, coal industries at the expense of the planet.  

Again, as in the title of the blog, why should we care about endangered species when there is money to be made?

We're killing our democracy, why not the animals too?

This should be a no brainer.  This should be bipartisan.  This should offend us all.  And yet, Republicans are united in supporting these changes.  The Republicans in Congress, the White House, and the Department of the Interior all are coordinating in remove as much regulation as possible.
The one million species number comes from a United Nations report released in May.  To quote one of the co-chairs of the report, "The evidence is crystal clear - Nature is in trouble.  Therefore we are in trouble."

Indeed, we are in trouble.

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