The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has opened what it calls “a robust, transparent public process” over proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act, a law that aims to recover “our most imperiled species to the point they no longer need federal protection.”
Curious that Fish & Wildlife considers what it’s doing “robust” and “transparent.” You would think from reading its summation and an accompanying press release that the proposed changes were good for animals. To the contrary. The first clue that something is not robust and transparent comes from the press release: “The Trump Administration is dedicated to being a good neighbor and being a better partner with the communities in which we operate.”
This is an administration that has nominated a Dow Chemical lawyer to oversee the Superfund program, worked hard to open Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, and foisted the U.S. Army Corp of Engineer to evaluate a prospective gold mine near Bristol Bay over the objections of Alaska’s governor.
Also curious thaty NOAA Assistant Administrator for Fisheries Chris Oliver says the changes are meant to bring “clarity and consistency” to the Endangered Species Act.
NPR’s Nate Rott highlights two of the changes: “The first would end the practice of treating threatened species the same as endangered. This proposal says that threatened species could still get some of those protections as endangered, but it would be determined on a case-by-case basis. It won’t be de facto anymore. The second would allow the economic consequences of a species’ protection to be taken into consideration during a listing. The decision would still ultimately be determined by the best available science, but the cost of that would also be considered.”
Costs and economic consequences balanced against wildlife.
Rott interviewed Collin O’Mara, head of the National Wildlife Federation, who said, “One out of every three wildlife species in this country is either at risk or vulnerable to extinction in the coming century. We have a crisis that we need – that needs solutions. Like, the status quo is basically just managing decline of specie populations that we all care about.”
O’Mara would like to see more resources put into helping wildlife before they’re threatened or endangered, Rott said.
That sounds smart. Let’s do that instead. Here’s where you can comment on the administration’s proposed changes, until September 24.
Here’s a sample comment:
Your summation and press release indicate this would be good for wildlife, while instead it would be good for business. You need to drop this plan and instead (not in addition, but rather instead) work on more and better ways to help wildlife before it’s threatened and/or endangered.
Here’s how public employees with integrity behave: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/11/21/resisting-trump-from-inside-the-government