August 21, 2019—The Trump administration's decision to weaken the widely supported law has drawn sweeping condemnation from conservationists.
The final Endangered Species Act (ESA) regulatory reform package, released earlier this month by the Departments of the Interior and Commerce, fails the most important measure of any changes to a bedrock environmental law by marginalizing science-based protections for wildlife.
"There is no underestimating or exaggerating the devastating, desecrating impact of the Trump administration's rollback of the Endangered Species rules. This rollback of long -accepted rules essentially sidelines and straightjackets science. It prioritizes special interests, mainly oil, gas, and mining," said Senator Richard Blumenthal at a press conference held along the Connecticut River in Rocky Hill Ferry Landing.
Audubon Connecticut joined the Senator, along with partners like Leda Huda, Executive Director of the Endangered Species Coalition.
"The National Audubon Society believes these rule changes are political, unwise, and will only increased litigation. The changes weren't needed -- and they tip the balance in decision-making against vulnerable wildlife. Species designated as 'threatened' have had the same protection as those listed 'endangered,' but new regulations will remove their safety net. Our changing climate is affecting people and wildlife now, and we need to set a higher, not lower, bar for critical protections," said Leslie Kane, managing director of Audubon Connecticut.
Behind the speakers, the Connecticut River flowed. Home to the Bald Eagle, one of the best-known species saved from extinction by the Endangered Species Act, it offered a strong reminder that the Endangered Species Act is our nation’s most powerful tool for protecting wildlife. Protections provided by the Act have succeeded in preventing the extinction of 99 percent of the species listed and has set other bird species like the Peregrine Falcon and Brown Pelican on the path to recovery.
"We know that Senator Blumenthal will have our backs as we speak up against these unnecessary changes. We thank him for his quick action on the issue and his support for the environment we hold so dear," concluded Kane.