Biden Restores Threatened Species Protections

Biden Restores Threatened Species Protections After Trump Removed Them

The Biden-Harris Administration last week finalized rule changes to restore protection and recovery of endangered and threatened species and their habitats. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service led the announcements of the rule changes. 

“As species face new and daunting challenges, including climate change, degraded and fragmented habitat, invasive species, and wildlife disease, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is more important than ever to conserve and recover imperiled species now and for generations to come,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Martha Williams. “These revisions underscore our commitment to using all of the tools available to help halt declines and stabilize populations of the species most at-risk. We will continue to use the best-available science when implementing the ESA — including when making listing and delisting decisions, designating critical habitat, developing protective regulations for threatened species, and consulting on federal actions.” 

The Rollback of Species Protection

The rule changes in part acted to reverse retreats enacted by the Trump Administration in 2019, which catered to special interests (like developers and agribusiness) that have complained for decades about having to make accommodations to protect threatened plants and animals and their habitat. The national League of Conservation Voters (LCV) praised the new and restored protections. “LCV supports the Biden-Harris administration’s efforts to restore critical protections for endangered species and their habitats that the Trump administration eviscerated,” said LCV Conservation Program Director America Fitzpatrick. “As climate change, development, and pollution further exacerbate the extinction crisis, these rules will once again bolster wildlife and habitat resilience, help stabilize at-risk species populations, and halt declines. We look forward to supporting and working with the Biden-Harris administration to build on these efforts to strengthen the Endangered Species Act and protect wildlife and their habitat for future generations.”

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