New Federal Rules Gut Endangered Species Act Protections for Maine Wildlife
New regulations released today by the Departments of Commerce and the Interior will significantly weaken the Endangered Species Act, a cornerstone environmental law responsible for the protection of some of Maine’s most imperiled wildlife.

The Trump Administration rules impair the effectiveness of the Endangered Species Act in a number of ways. Among the changes:

Agencies can now consider economic factors when deciding whether to protect a species, a sharp departure from the Act’s long-standing reliance on biological science;

New bureaucratic hurdles will make it difficult to extend protections to threatened species;

It will now be more difficult to designate critical habitat, a crucial tool for protecting and restoring species;

Climate change is no longer a factor when considering whether to protect a species, and;

The rules fundamentally change the way that federal agencies consult one another, undermining the conservation of endangered and threatened species nationwide.

Maine Audubon has strongly opposed these new rules since they were proposed in 2018, and hundreds of Maine Audubon members and supporters wrote to the Departments of Commerce and the Interior to support Maine Wildlife to express their opposition.

Statement from Eliza Donoghue, Senior Policy & Advocacy Specialist, Maine Audubon

“The Trump Administration has just issued a death sentence for America’s most vulnerable wildlife. The Endangered Species Act has been a lifeline for hundreds of species, about 99 percent of which have been kept from extinction after listing under the Act. The continued existence of the eleven species living in Maine listed as endangered or threatened, including the Roseate Tern, Leatherback Sea Turtle, and Piping Plover, as well the existence of species who might need the ESA’s protection in the future, is now more uncertain than ever.”

“Maine Audubon and our 30,000 members and supporters join the chorus of Mainers bitterly disappointed about the Trump Administration’s weakening of the Endangered Species Act, and we call upon Maine’s federal representatives to echo our sentiments in Congress. Action must be taken to ensure the protection of wildlife, in Maine and around the nation.”

Statement from Laura Minch Zitske, Director, Piping Plover & Least Tern Project, Maine Audubon

“The Piping Plover has just enjoyed the most successful nesting season in Maine since we began monitoring in 1981, fledging 170+ chicks. The remarkable ongoing recovery of the Piping Plover could not have occurred without the protections afforded by the Endangered Species Act, and the cooperation of federal and state agencies and local organizations the Act facilitates.”

Posted on Monday, August 12, 2019 (Archive on Monday, September 2, 2019)
Posted by Jym St. Pierre   Contributed by Jym St. Pierre