UNITED STATES—On Thursday, July 19, the United States Department of Interior Commerce unveiled proposals for what could be the most significant changes to the Endangered Species Act in decades.
The 1973 act is, “Key legislation for both domestic and international conservation,” according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s definition, and it, “Aims to provide a framework to conserve and protect endangered and threatened species in their habitats.” The act protects wildlife and blocks ranching, logging, and oil drilling on protected habitats.
Some animals currently classified on endangered species list include the bald eagle, gray wolf, grizzly bear, and the American crocodile. Fox News’ Bret Baier reported that some have called the protection of the near-extinct animals, “Overly burdensome, harmful to business and outdated.”
John Barrsao, Republican on the Senate Environmental Committee chair, said, “Even the U.S. Constitution has been amended more than the Endangered Species Act.” The administration stands behind the proposals for changes to the protective act.
The proposal aims at revisions to the definition of “endangered species.” It’s definition is, “One that is in danger of extinction or likely to become so within the foreseeable future.” The Department wants to narrow the definition of “foreseeable future,” and they want to revise the procedure for designating critical habitats. This will lead to the easier construction of pipelines and advance the interest of corporations.
Environmentalists say that all of this is dangerous. Brett Hartl, with the Center for Biological Diversity was invited on a Fox News segment, where he said, “It will probably over time, collectively, degrade many of the natural areas that are part of America’s heritage. This isn’t about small businesses or burdensome regulations. This is really about rewarding the largest corporate polluters.”
The principle Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was quoted saying, “We are proposing these improvements to produce the best conservation results for the species while reducing the regulatory burden on the American people.”
While these proposals for deregulation have been made, they won’t go into effect for at least 60 days, allowing time for the public to react.