WASHINGTON (July 20, 2018)—The U.S. Department of the Interior and the National Marine Fisheries Service have proposed a broad set of changes to the enforcement of the Endangered Species Act—changes that would undermine the role of science and make the law far less effective, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).
Below is a statement by Dr. Andrew Rosenberg, director of the Center for Science and Democracy at UCS and a former deputy director of the National Marine Fisheries Service.
“The Endangered Species Act has successfully saved 99 percent of listed species from extinction—and it’s an effective law because it’s grounded in science. The Trump administration would weaken that scientific foundation and make it much harder to create robust plans to protect species on the brink of extinction. Make no mistake: this is going to increase the chances that species go extinct.
“Using short-term economic gain as a justification for not protecting endangered species is part of a pattern with this administration. Their repeated efforts to weaken science-based protections come straight off the wish lists of politically powerful industries like oil and gas extraction.
“The Trump administration’s proposals to change the Endangered Species Act come at the same time as the President’s allies in Congress are proposing bills that would also undermine the law. These changes are a radical upending of our policy toward plants, animals and ecosystems. If these efforts succeed, we may have a law called the Endangered Species Act, but it won’t be remotely effective at protecting endangered species.”