Gutting the Endangered Species Act.

The law that has successfully protected the bald eagle and the Yellowstone grizzly bear from possible extinction will be changed, and probably it will not be for the good of the natural world. Republicans want to make it less cumbersome so that it does not restrict economic development. In other words, let us not make the status of a species determine if economic development will occur in a particular area or not.

The proposed revisions would make it easier to build roads, pipelines and other big projects. One change would involve the act of considering economic factors to decide if a species is to be protected or not. It would therefore now be considered. Presumably if the economic aspects of a project are significant then no species could stand in its way.

The proposal would also restrict the category of “threatened”, which is one level beneath the most serious one, “endangered.” Of course, by putting a species in the threatened category one is able to have more individuals to save rather than wait till it is endangered. By then it might not be able to come back from the brink. Another proposal would also include a new definition of the term ”foreseeable” future. This would give the government more leeway to discount future effects of global warming.

Of course these moves fit a pattern of the Trump administration of loosening the laws that govern commerce and the environment. Republicans have long argued against laws that moderate and contain such development. Naturally these same laws which protect species and the environment also protect humans from wrecking the natural world in which we live in.

Naturally the oil and gas industry has praised the proposed changes, arguing that the focus should be on species recovery and not controlling lands in the West. One should not be surprised by that.

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