January 12, 2021 - WASHINGTON— The Trump administration proposed a rule on Monday that would cripple protections for endangered species on public lands across the country.
The proposed rule would allow the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to carry out destructive logging, drilling, roadbuilding, livestock grazing and other development programs — even if new scientific information indicates an endangered animal or plant is being pushed closer to extinction precisely because of those activities.
“As the last act of the most anti-wildlife administration in history, Trump is telling agencies to stick their heads in the sand and ignore science about the threats to endangered species,” said Stephanie Kurose, a senior policy specialist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Our most imperiled wildlife will suffer for decades just so polluters and special interests can keep destroying our public lands.”
This latest assault on endangered species mirrors legislation introduced by Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), the Litigation Relief for Forest Management Projects Act. Today’s proposed rule would exempt the Forest Service and Bureau from having to reinitiate consultation with the Fish and Wildlife Service in cases where new information that was not previously considered, including information on climate change, shows that species are being harmed by activities on land management plans.
The proposed rule would also allow the Forest Service and Bureau to ignore new science about a species or its habitat until the agencies write or revise their land-management plans — something that only occurs once every few decades. Those delays could undermine conservation efforts across public lands and potentially put individual species on the fast track to extinction.
For instance, in 2017 the Bureau was required to reassess how water depletion and oil spills’ effects were harming four endangered fish after new scientific information showed that the rapid expansion of drilling and climate change would harm stream flows.
“After everything that has happened in the past week, it’s disgraceful that this administration continues to wage its destructive war on wildlife,” said Kurose.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
Source: Center for Biological Diversity