Last month, the Trump administration proposed major changes to three parts of the Endangered Species Act that could jeopardize the implementation of this vital law and weaken its ability to protect species in the future. Here in Washington state, it could have critical impacts on orcas, salmon, and marbled murrelets.
Many of these proposed changes affect how species are listed and delisted, and how critical habitat is designated. Submit your comments today and tell the Trump administration that you strongly oppose these changes to Section 4 of the Endangered Species Act.
These changes would weaken protections for endangered and threatened species by:
- Allowing references to economic impacts in what should be entirely science-based decisions about listing at-risk species.
- Impairing the ability to fully protect listed species by overlooking the importance of unoccupied habitat for recovery and protection.
The proposed changes would remove the ban against referencing economic and other impacts on landowners as a part of a listing decision. Developers and industry should not be given a louder voice in science-based decision-making about the future of fragile species.
It would also require that areas currently occupied by species must be evaluated before considering unoccupied areas, when making a critical habitat designation. We know that, as in the case of the marbled murrelet, surrounding habitat plays an essential role in recovery, even when the species isn’t physically present there. Additionally, for species like the murrelet and Chinook salmon, whose decline is tied to habitat loss, losing potential habitat could impede the population’s ability to recover.
The US Fish & Wildlife Service & National Marine Fisheries Service are asking for your comments. This is our chance to speak up to protect our endangered and threatened wildlife.