WASHINGTON (PM) — The Trump administration is clinching significant revisions Monday to the way it implements the landmark Endangered Species Act, a transit it says will lessen regulative burden but critics maintain will drive more creatures to extinction.
The administration was publishing a final rule changing the way the federal government manages protections for plants and animals at risk of extinction.
The Endangered Species Act is recognized with helping protect the bald eagle, California condor and scores of other animals and plants from extinction since President Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1973.
The Trump administration maintains the changes will make regulation more efficient and less burdensome while preserving protections for wildlife.
At least 10 attorneys general, combined with conservation groups, protested an early draft of the changes, stating they put more wildlife at greater risk of extinction.
A draft version of the changes published last year introduced stopping blanket protections for animals newly deemed threatened and providing federal authorities for the first time to examine the economic cost of preserving a particular species. Another change could let authorities ignore impacts from climate change, one of the largest threats to habitat, conservation groups said.
The final rule broadly adheres to those changes, according to a person briefed on the changes who was not authorized to openly speak about them.
The Endangered Species Act, before the proposed change, currently preserves more than 1,600 species in the United States and its territories.