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Hullabaloo


Monday, August 12, 2019

 
They just want to kill everything

by digby





We knew they didn't care about any human beings who don't look and think like them. And we knew they couldn't care less about their own children and grandchildren since they are willing to destroy the planet in order to own the libs. Apparently they hate animals too:

In May, a United Nations panel on biodiversity released a massive, troubling report on the state of the world’s animals. The bottom line: As many as 1 million species are now at risk of extinction if we don’t act to save them.

Species of all kinds — mammals, birds, amphibians, insects, plants, marine life, terrestrial life — are disappearing at a rate “tens to hundreds of times higher than the average over the last 10 million years” due to human activity, the report stated. It implored the countries of the world to step up their actions to protect the wildlife that remains. Wildlife like the endangered gray wolves and caribou that roam the United States, or the threatened polar bear in the Arctic.

The Trump administration has just done the opposite.

On Monday, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced they were pushing through changes to the Endangered Species Act that will, in effect, weaken protections for species, and possibly give industry more leeway to develop areas where threatened animals live. A draft proposal of these rule changes was announced last summer. And now the rules go into effect in 30 days after they are officially published in the federal register (which the New York Times expects will happen this week).

The Trump administration’s alterations don’t change the letter of the ESA, which was passed in 1973 during the Nixon administration. But they do change how the federal government will enforce it. Here are two of the biggest changes. (Read the full new finalized rules here.)
The new rules allow for greater leeway in protecting threatened species and open the door to industry to skirt protections

Currently, species that are listed as “threatened” are defined as “any species which is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future.” (Threatened is a designation that’s less severe than “endangered.”) The new rules constrain what is meant by “foreseeable future” and give significant discretion in interpreting what that means.

“The Services will describe the foreseeable future on a case-by-case basis,” the new rule states. Discretion is not a problem per se, but as the Washington Post explained last year, this could mean that in determining protections for plants and animals, regulators could ignore the far-flung effects of climate change that may occur several decades from now. Polar bears are threatened now, but they’ll be in even more peril in the future, when there’s less and less sea ice. There’s now more leeway for the government to determine if disappearing ice 40 years from now contributes to the threat Arctic animals face today.

The second big change is more of a giveaway to industry.

Until now, the agencies that enforce the ESA have had to base their decisions of whether to protect a species solely on scientific data, “without reference to possible economic or other impacts of such determination.”

The new rule removes that phrase. “The Act does not prohibit the [government] from compiling economic information or presenting that information to the public,” the rule argues. It does clarify that it’s allowed to do so “as long as such information does not influence the listing determination.” (But that’s confusing: Why strike the phrase from the guidelines in that case?)

That change, conservation groups fear, opens the door to business interests coming into discussions of whether a species should be protected. The new rule also gives the agencies more leeway to determine if an area that’s unoccupied by a species (but where it could also conceivably live) should be protected.

If a Democrat wins in 2020 they must reverse this on the first day.

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