Trump Administration Changes The Endangered Species Act

Aug 12, 2019

Credit Tom Koerner/USFWS via Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

The Trump administration has made several rule changes to the Endangered Species Act that they say will provide transparency while protecting species.

Conservation groups say many of the changes are illegal and put species further at risk. The key changes remove absolute protections for threatened species, weigh the economic cost of protecting a species and limit how climate change is used to determine the long-term future of a species.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Assistant Director Gary Frazer said they won't speculate that a species could be negatively impacted.

"Our reasonable determinations of those future threats and that the species responses to those threats are likely. That we're not speculating about those, but we can reliably predict those," Frazer said.

Drew Caputo, Vice President of Litigation for the Conservation Group Earth Justice, said the Environmental Protection Agency must consider science when it comes to endangered species.

"What you don't get to do is what they are trying to do here, which is to say well…we're just going to ignore the whole thing."

Caputo said the rule changes are headed to court. Wyoming U.S. Senator John Barrasso calls the changes a good start, but he wants to reform the law.