The Trump administration is relaxing rules and incorporating economic analysis into federal regulations meant to help dying species avoid extinction and recover.
The Department of the Interior and Department of Commerce jointly announced revisions to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) Thursday. The revisions are aimed at reducing the tension landowners and businesses feel at the federal government’s strict and inconsistent enforcement of the environmental law. (RELATED: Report: The Endangered Species Act Doesn’t Work Because It Hammers Landowners With Draconian Regs)
“One thing we heard over and over again was that ESA implementation was not consistent and often times very confusing to navigate,” U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Principal Deputy Director Greg Sheehan said in a statement. “We are proposing these improvements to produce the best conservation results for the species while reducing the regulatory burden on the American people,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Principal Deputy Director Greg Sheehan.”
One of the changes includes considering the commercial and economic impact of listing a species, as well as the type and amount of protection it receives.
“We propose to remove the phrase, ‘without reference to possible economic or other impacts of such determination,’ … to more closely align with the statutory language,” one of the amendments says, according to the Washington Post.
“The modest reform proposed by the Department of Interior today could finally enable the Endangered Species Act to achieve both of its noble goals of preventing extinctions and promoting recovery of protected species,” Property and Environment Research Center adjunct fellow Jonathan Wood said in a statement to The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“Relaxing regulations as a species recovers will reward property owners for their role in that recovery, creating a necessary incentive for landowners to restore and improve endangered species habitat,” Wood said. “Reforms that can make species recovery more common is good news for both the regulated public and rare species.”
Conservationists slammed the implementation reforms of the more than four-decade old law. The revisions were attacking the “heart” of the ESA, Defenders of Wildlife president and chief executive Jamie Rappaport Clark said, according to WaPo.
“Unfortunately, the sweeping changes being proposed by the Trump administration include provisions that would undercut the effectiveness of the ESA and put species at risk of extinction,” Clark said. “The signal being sent by the Trump administration is clear: Protecting America’s wildlife and wild lands is simply not on their agenda.”
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