Online Originals: Trump administration weakens Endangered Species Act

Online Originals

The Trump Administration announced on Monday that it would significantly weaken the way the Endangered Species Act is applied.

It was originally signed into effect during Richard Nixon’s presidency in 1973 with an almost unanimous vote. Today, over 1600 plants and animals, and some habitats, are protected by the act.

The new rules would weaken protections for threatened species, a step below endangered, and make it easier to remove a species from the endangered list.

Additionally, for the first time, regulators would be allowed to conduct economic assessments when deciding whether a species warrants protection.

White House officials say the new rules are part of the effort to ease regulations on industries like mining, oil drilling and development.

The new rules are expected to go into effect next month, but several environmental groups, Democrats in Congress and Democratic state Attorneys General, including California and Massachusetts, have implied that they will challenge them in Congress or the courts.

Maura Healey, the attorney general of Massachusetts, called the changes “reckless” and said states would “do everything we can to oppose these actions.”

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