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10 State Attorneys General to Sue Trump Administration from Making Changes to U.S. Endangered Species Act

About 1,600 species are currently protected by the act and the administration says streamlining regulations is the best way

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FILE - Monarch butterflies cling to a plant at the Monarch Grove Sanctuary in Pacific Grove, California, Dec. 30, 2014. VOA

At least 10 state attorneys general say they will join conservation groups in suing the Trump administration from making drastic changes to the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

U.S. officials have announced a revision of the nearly 50-year-old set of laws that environmentalists credit with saving numerous animals, plants and other species from extinction.

About 1,600 species are currently protected by the act and the administration says streamlining regulations is the best way to ensure those animals stay protected.

“The revisions finalized with this rule-making fit squarely within the president’s mandate of easing the regulatory burden on the American public without sacrificing our species’ protection and recovery goals,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said.

Attorney Generals, Trump, Endangered Species
At least 10 state attorneys general say they will join conservation groups in suing the Trump administration from making drastic changes to the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Pixabay

The proposed changes include considering the economic cost when deciding to save a species from extinction. The law currently says the cost to logging or oil interests will have no bearing on whether an animal, bird, or other species deserves protection.

The revised act would also end blanket protection for a species listed as threatened — a designation that is one step away from declaring an animal population as endangered — and reduce some wildlife habitat.

Conservation and wildlife groups took little time in denouncing the changes, calling them President Donald Trump’s gift to logging, ranching, and oil industries.

‘Beginning of the end’

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“These changes crash a bulldozer through the Endangered Species Act’s lifesaving protections for America’s most vulnerable wildlife,” the Center for Biological Diversity’s Noah Greenwald said. “For animals like the wolverine and monarch butterflies, this could be the beginning of the end.”

The center’s Brett Hartl added that putting a price tag on whether a species deserves to live opens the door for political interference.

“You have to be really naive and cynical and disingenuous to pretend otherwise. That’s the reason Congress prohibited the Fish and Wildlife Service from doing that. It’s a science question — is a species going extinct, yes or no?”

Attorney Generals, Trump, Endangered Species
U.S. officials have announced a revision of the nearly 50-year-old set of laws that environmentalists credit with saving numerous animals, plants and other species from extinction. Pixabay

Attorneys general from 10 states along with environmental groups say they will take the administration to court to preserve the Endangered Species Act. Several congressional Democrats are also denouncing the changes.

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Republican President Richard Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act into law in 1973 as part of the new environmental awareness that was sweeping the country in the early 1970s, which included Earth Day and the Clear Water and Air acts. (VOA)

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We Got Trump Elected, Shouldn’t Stop Him in 2020; Says Facebook Executive

Instead, the Russians worked to exploit existing divisions in the American public for example by hosting Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter protest events in the same city on the same day

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FILE - President Donald Trump departs after speaking with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House July 17, 2019, in Washington. VOA

Facebook Vice President Andrew ‘Boz’ Bosworth has claimed that it was the social networking giant that got Donald Trump elected as the US President in 2016 because “he ran the single best digital ad campaign I’ve ever seen from any advertiser”.

In a memo obtained by The New York Times, the key Facebook executive in the same vein suggested that the platform with over 2.45 billion monthly active users should not use its enormous reach to block Trump’s reelection in 2020.

Was Facebook responsible for Donald Trump getting elected?

“I think the answer is yes, but not for the reasons anyone thinks. He didn’t get elected because of Russia or misinformation or Cambridge Analytica. He got elected because he ran the single best digital ad campaign I’ve ever seen from any advertiser. Period”, said Bosworth who runs Facebook’s hardware group.

“Trump just did unbelievable work,” Bosworth wrote.

“They weren’t running misinformation or hoaxes. They weren’t micro-targeting or saying different things to different people. They just used the tools we had to show the right creative to each persona.

He continued: “I find myself desperately wanting to pull any lever at my disposal to avoid the same result. So what stays my hand? I find myself thinking of the Lord of the Rings at this moment”.

Donald Trump
Official portrait of President Donald J. Trump. Wikimedia Commons

“Specifically when Frodo offers the ring to Galadrial (Galadriel) and she imagines using the power righteously, at first, but knows it will eventually corrupt her,” he wrote.

“As tempting as it is to use the tools available to us to change the outcome, I am confident we must never do that or we will become that which we fear.”

“To be clear, I’m no fan of Trump. I donated the max to Hillary,” he tried to clarify his stand.

Bosworth said that it is worth reminding everyone that Russian interference was real but it was mostly not done through advertising.

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“$100,000 in ads on Facebook can be a powerful tool but it can’t buy you an American election, especially when the candidates themselves are putting up several orders of magnitude more money on the same platform (not to mention other platforms),” he wrote.

Instead, the Russians worked to exploit existing divisions in the American public for example by hosting Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter protest events in the same city on the same day.

“Misinformation was also real and related but not the same as Russian interference,” Bosworth mentioned, admitting that Cambridge Analytica was one of the more acute cases where the details were almost all wrong. (IANS)