The 49-year-old Endangered Species Act was signed into law in 1973 by former President Richard Nixon, who called on Congress to send him a strong bill. Since then, the wildlife protection law has protected imperiled species with a 99% success rate.
But in a series of moves, the Trump administration weakened the measure in substantial ways, including injecting economic considerations into calculations of whether to save vulnerable species and changing the definition of habitat.
On Tuesday, a court rejected the Trump administration’s changes, finding that the previous administration skipped steps in making substantial changes by not conducting a new environmental review, and “failed to provide a reasoned basis” for the changes.
This ruling is great news for America’s wildlife and all species. Environment America and our state groups objected to the rollbacks of the law and collected tens of thousands public comments urging the Trump administration to keep the Endangered Species Act strong and effective.
Our efforts had fallen on deaf ears. Thus this new court ruling is an early, welcome birthday present for the Endangered Species Act.
A big thank you is in order to the 17 states that sued to protect the conservation law and to Earthjustice and the suite of environmental groups that also challenged the previous administration’s rollbacks in court. Bravo, from us and from the endangered and threatened species throughout America.
Photo credit: Holly Kuchera, shutterstock