Environmental Group Sues Trump Administration for Failing to Protect 241 Vulnerable Plant and Animal Species

An environmental motion group has sued the Trump administration for failing to decide on whether or not 241 plant and animal species within the U.S. must be protected underneath the Endangered Species Act.

Four years in the past, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) put collectively a plan to handle a backlog of greater than 500 species—together with the 241 talked about above—which have been nonetheless awaiting safety selections.

However, the Center for Biological Diversity—the non-profit that filed the lawsuit—has mentioned the Trump administration has largely prevented the FWS from working by means of the listing.

The Endangered Species Act is a key piece of conservation laws that specialists say has spared tons of of species from extinction since being launched in 1973. The act states that selections over whether or not to guard animal and plant species ought to take not more than two years.

However, for many of the species named within the lawsuit, these selections haven’t been addressed for a decade—and in some instances even longer. This inaction may place lots of the 241 species named within the lawsuit in danger provided that all of them face a bunch of significant threats, starting from habitat destruction to local weather change and illness, in line with the Center.

The species named within the lawsuit are discovered throughout the decrease 48 states and embody noticed turtles within the Great Lakes and Eastern Seaboard, moose within the Midwest, and a fowl species generally known as the golden-winged warbler from the northeastern U.S., along with many different birds, amphibians, bugs, fish and mammals. An interactive map of the place these species dwell will be considered right here.

“As moose and golden-winged warblers and hundreds of other species fight the rising tide of the extinction crisis, Trump officials won’t lift a finger to help,” Noah Greenwald, the Center’s endangered species director, mentioned in a press release. “This administration’s ugly contempt for wildlife and the Endangered Species Act threatens our country’s entire web of life. Every day of delay brings these incredible, irreplaceable plants and animals one step closer to extinction.”

western pond turtle
A western pond turtle basks on a log subsequent to a pond in Clackamas, Oregon throughout the spring of 2010.
Rick Swart/ODFW

“The extinction crisis gets worse by the day, but Trump officials are twiddling their thumbs as plants and animals fade away,” Greenwald mentioned. “It’s a moral failure of epic proportions. And it’s hurting future generations in ways that can never be undone.”

The Center hopes that the lawsuit—which is among the largest ever filed underneath the ESA—will lastly pressure the Trump administration into taking motion on these vital conservation selections.

To date, the Trump administration has protected simply 21 species underneath the ESA, a report low for any administration at this level within the presidential time period. By comparability, the Obama administration protected 360 species in complete, whereas the George H.W. Bush administration protected 232. Meanwhile, 523 species have been protected throughout the Clinton administration and 254 underneath the Reagan administration.

“Last year, scientists from around the world raised the alarm bells about the extinction crisis, noting the we’re at risk of losing as many as one million species in the coming decades,” Greenwald instructed Newsweek. “The Endangered Species Act is our best tool for avoiding extinction.”

“As with laws to protect our air, water and climate, the Trump administration has done everything in its power to subvert implementation of the Endangered Species Act, including just not enforcing the law and passing new rules that substantially undermine protections for endangered wildlife,” he mentioned.

The White House has been contacted for remark concerning the lawsuit.

This article was up to date to incorporate extra feedback from Noah Greenwald.

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