The Trump Administration is looking into a proposal that will put the future of threatened species at risk by removing protections that are essential to trying rebuild the species.
The “Removal of Blanket Section 4(d) Rule” is the proposal from the US Fish and Wildlife service would change how threatened species are handled.
A previous proposal would remove protections for up to 300 currently threatened species. That initial report appears to be incorrect as the proposal will only impact species listed as threatened from now on.
The draft proposal outlines how the administration seeks to change the protections for animals and plants the government determines in the future are at risk of becoming endangered. Instead of applying general protections for threatened species, the new rule would tailor guidelines for each individual animal or plant life — a change that concerns conservation advocates, who believe it will lead to an even longer backlog.
For four decades, the Fish and Wildlife Service has either developed specific protections for a newly-listed species, or applies a set of standard protections known as the blanket rule.
The Trump administration proposal says the agency in the future will no longer apply the blanket rule when listing a species.
Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), said in statement that Trump would go down as the “extinction President” if these protections for threatened animals were eliminated. It would reverse a rule that stood for more than 40 years from the US fish and Wildlife Service, which gives threatened species the same protections as endangered species.
The news comes just days after the Trump administration picked Susan Combs, an opponent of the Endangered Species Act 1973 (ESA), to oversee wildlife and parks. She has tried to remove species protection on the ESA before, including arguing that bird protections impacted military
“Combs protested the listing of the dune sagebrush lizard, whose habitat coincides with Texas oil fields, and the federal government eventually heeded her request,” noted EcoWatch.
Republicans have long argued that species protection prevents economic development, with a series of bills having been proposed to lessen the legislative power of the act.