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Environmental and Animal Rights Groups Suing Trump Administration Over Changes to Endangered Species Act

They charge the administration with breaking the law by announcing changes to the implementation of the landmark act

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Endangered Species, Environmental, Animal
A monarch butterfly rests on a plant at Abbott's Mill Nature Center in Milford, Del. Seven environmental and animal protection groups teamed up to file the first lawsuit challenging the Trump administration's rollback of the Endangered Species Act. VOA

Seven environmental and animal rights groups are suing the Trump administration for its regulations that would make drastic changes to the implementation of the Endangered Species Act.

The environmental law group Earthjustice filed the joint suit Wednesday in San Francisco.

They charge the administration with breaking the law by announcing changes to the implementation of the landmark act without first analyzing the effects the changes would have.

“In the midst of an unprecedented extinction crisis, the Trump administration is eviscerating our most effective wildlife protection law,” the National Resources Defense Council said. “These regulatory changes will place vulnerable species in immediate danger – all to line the pockets of industry. We are counting on the courts to step in before it is too late.”

Endangered Species, Environmental, Animal
Seven environmental and animal rights groups are suing the Trump administration for its regulations that would make drastic changes to the implementation. Pixabay

An Interior Department spokesman responded by saying “We will see them in court and we will be steadfast in our implementation of this important act with the unchanging goal of conserving and recovering species.”

Attorneys general from two states — California and Massachusetts — also say they will sue.

Environmentalists credit the 1973 Endangered Species Act 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 they will stay protected.

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“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 last week.

The finalized changes include requiring consideration of economic cost when deciding whether 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 or other species deserves protection.

The revised regulations would also end blanket protection for a species listed as threatened, a designation that is one step away from declaring it endangered, and reduce some wildlife habitat.

Conservation and wildlife groups call the changes U.S. President Donald Trump’s gift to logging, ranching, and oil industries, saying they take a bulldozer through protections for America’s most vulnerable wildlife.

Endangered Species, Environmental, Animal
The environmental law group Earthjustice filed the joint suit Wednesday in San Francisco. Pixabay

A number of congressional Democrats have also denounced the changes, including New York Senator Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi,

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

Next Story

Activist Greta Thunberg Declines Environmental Prize

But Sofia and Isabella Axelsson quoted Thunberg as saying that “what we need is for our rulers and politicians to listen to the research"

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Activist, Greta Thunberg, Environmental
Greta Thunberg marches in the climate strike through downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada October 25, 2019. VOA

Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, who has inspired millions across the world to stage protests urging leaders to better tackle global warming, has declined an environmental prize, saying “the climate movement does not need any more prizes.”

Two fellow climate activists spoke on Thunberg’s behalf at an award ceremony Tuesday in Stockholm for the regional inter-parliamentary Nordic Council’s prizes, reading a statement thanking the group for the honor. Thunberg, 16, is currently in California.

But Sofia and Isabella Axelsson quoted Thunberg as saying that “what we need is for our rulers and politicians to listen to the research.”

The Nordic Council hands out annual prizes for literature, youth literature, film, music and the environment, each worth 350,000 Danish kroner ($52,000).

Activist, Greta Thunberg, Environmental
Two fellow climate activists spoke on Thunberg’s behalf at an award ceremony Tuesday in Stockholm for the regional inter-parliamentary Nordic Council’s prizes. Pixabay

It was not the first prize that the climate activist has won or been nominated for.

Three Norwegian lawmakers nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize this year because they believe “the massive movement Greta has set in motion is a very important peace contribution.”

Last year, about three months into her school climate strike campaign, Thunberg declined another award, the Children’s Climate Prize, which is awarded by a Swedish electricity company, because many of the finalists had to fly to Stockholm for the ceremony.

Thunberg notes that flights contribute to global warming, so she sailed across the Atlantic Ocean for two weeks on a zero-emissions sailboat to reach New York. There the Swede scolded a U.N. climate conference in September , repeatedly asking, “How dare you?”

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“We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and yet all you can talk about is money. You are failing us,” she said.

Weeks later, Thunberg won the 2019 Right Livelihood Award, known as the “Alternative Nobel” — “for inspiring and amplifying political demands for urgent climate action reflecting scientific facts.”

In May 2019, she was featured on the cover of Time magazine, which named her a “next generation leader.” (VOA)