Breaking news: 17 states sue Trump administration for weakening Endangered Species Act

By on September 25, 2019 with 8 Comments

By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson

Today, 17 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and New York City filed a lawsuit to block the Trump administration from making harmful changes to how the Endangered Species Act, the bedrock law that protects endangered and threatened animal species and their habitats, is implemented by the federal government.

The HSUS and a coalition of animal protection and conservation organizations represented by Earthjustice filed a similar lawsuit last month seeking to overturn the changes. We are pleased to see the attorneys general of 17 states, led by California, Massachusetts and Maryland – along with those of two major cities – join their legal firepower with ours in what is shaping up to be one of the most important animal protection fights of the century.

“We’re coming out swinging to defend this consequential law — humankind and the species with whom we share this planet depend on it,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement announcing the lawsuit. “Now is the time to strengthen our planet’s biodiversity, not to destroy it.”

This is encouraging news for those of us who have been raising the alarm over the changes, which were finalized last month, despite an outpouring of concern from citizens and groups like ours. More than 800,000 people spoke out in opposition when they were first proposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service earlier this year. And soon after that the HSUS and other animal protection and environmental groups came together to file a lawsuit challenging this attempt to weaken core provisions of the Act, making it harder to grant and maintain protections for species facing extinction around the globe.

The new rules strip newly listed threatened species of vital safeguards, create hurdles to list species threatened by climate change, weaken protection of critical habitat, and make it easier for federal agencies to ignore the impact of government actions on listed species. They also direct regulators to assess economic impacts when making decisions about whether species should be listed, tipping the scales against animals who happen to live in areas targeted by business operations like mining, oil drilling or development.

These changes are unacceptable because they have the potential to do irreparable harm to imperiled wildlife. With climate change threatening nearly one million plant and animal species, as a United Nations report pointed out earlier this year, it is more important than ever that we strengthen the Endangered Species Act, not destroy it. The future of our planet depends on it, and we are in good company as we fight to preserve it.

Sara Amundson is president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.

Public Policy (Legal/Legislative), Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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  1. Jill says:

    Thank you for standing up to this absolutely insane administration. I know so many people who are opting out of having children now, because our country’s future is so bleak.

  2. TomKat says:

    We are looking forward to seeing your hard-earned success with this! USFW past and present are in bed with trophy hunters. Let’s call them out on this as well as their “influencers” once and for all. Government officials need to be accountable. We need to investigate quid pro quo here.

  3. Michele Jankelow says:

    Wonderful news! Pleased so many States, environmental and animal agencies are getting together. Working together gives strength!
    Trump is a total environmental disaster. His arrogance and stupidity leaves me aghast that he is the President of the USA! Tragic situation!

  4. Judith says:

    We have to do something to protect the amazing wildlife that God has given us the responsibility to care for.

  5. Anne Zwick says:

    Please protect animals and their habitat, they are our greatest gift from God and we must be their Shepard, not their executioners.

  6. Anne Zwick says:

    Please protect all animals and their environment, the are the greatest gift from God and we should be their Shepard not their executioners. Animals DO NOT BELONG TO US.

  7. Patricia Richards says:

    Stop hurting the environment and the animals

  8. Vicki Brust says:

    We absolutely need to protect not just endangered animals but ALL animals…..I pray for all of them every day…..They ARE gifts from God and the Bible tells us that we must take care of them…..Please, continue the fight!

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