Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, sharply criticized Monday’s action by the Trump administration to finalize regulations weakening the Endangered Species Act and putting already threatened and endangered species further at risk. These new regulations, approved by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, would allow economic factors to keep species off the list and could directly benefit many of the mining, oil and gas companies for which Bernhardt once served as a lobbyist.
“This administration has shown time and time again that they are unconcerned with the welfare or conservation of animals, through their appointments, treating wildlife as commodities, and prioritizing profits over sustainability and sound science,” said Angela Grimes, Born Free USA CEO. “With one million species at risk of extinction and wildlife habitat encroachment almost at a tipping point, we should be doing more to protect animals, not less. Born Free USA condemns the ‘Trump Extinction Plan’ of undermining the Endangered Species Act and encourages the public to contact their elected representatives and let them know you oppose these regulation changes.”
The Endangered Species Act, signed into law by President Richard Nixon in 1973, protects animal and plant species in danger of extinction, as well as their habitats. More than 1,200 species are currently listed as endangered, with more than 300 others considered threatened.
The overhaul, first proposed in July 2018, removes language that prohibits the consideration of economic factors when deciding whether a species should be protected. Gary Frazer, the assistant director for endangered species with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, said the phrase was removed for “transparency.”
The rollback also allows for roads, pipelines, mines, and other industrial projects to be developed in habitat areas that are essential to some species’ survival, and would make it more difficult to protect polar bears, coral reefs and many more imperiled plant and animal species.
The new regulations also ignore the recent United Nations IPCC Report on Global Warming that warns of the greater possibility of extinction for more than one million plants and animals worldwide due, in large part, to development and climate change.
For more information about Born Free USA, visit https://www.bornfreeusa.org.