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Biden administration reverses Trump endangered species rule


By JOHN FLESHER (AP Environmental Writer)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. July 20, 2022 4:06 p.m.


Federal regulators Wednesday canceled a policy adopted under former President Donald Trump that weakened their authority to identify lands and waters where declining animals and plants could receive government protection.

The move was the latest by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service undoing changes to the Endangered Species Act that industry and landowner groups had won under Trump. President Joe Biden ordered a broad review of his predecessor's environmental policies after taking office in 2021.

One Trump measure required regulators not to designate areas as critical habitat if there would be greater economic benefit from developing them.


That forced the agency to disprove “speculative claims of environmental harm made by industries such as mining, logging, and oil and gas" as they sought to extract resources from public lands," said Earthjustice, a law firm that represents environmental groups.

In a 48-page document explaining withdrawal of the rule, the agency said it gave outside parties an “outsized role” in determining which areas were needed for preserving imperiled species while undermining the Fish and Wildlife Service's authority.

"The Service is the federal government’s lead agency on endangered species, responsible for conserving the nature of America for future generations,” agency Director Martha Williams said.


Federal regulators Wednesday canceled a policy adopted under former President Donald Trump that weakened their authority to identify lands and waters where declining animals and plants could receive government protection.

The move was the latest by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service undoing changes to the Endangered Species Act that industry and landowner groups had won under Trump. President Joe Biden ordered a broad review of his predecessor's environmental policies after taking office in 2021.


One Trump measure required regulators not to designate areas as critical habitat if there would be greater economic benefit from developing them.

That forced the agency to disprove “speculative claims of environmental harm made by industries such as mining, logging, and oil and gas" as they sought to extract resources from public lands," said Earthjustice, a law firm that represents environmental groups.

In a 48-page document explaining withdrawal of the rule, the agency said it gave outside parties an “outsized role” in determining which areas were needed for preserving imperiled species while undermining the Fish and Wildlife Service's authority.

"The Service is the federal government’s lead agency on endangered species, responsible for conserving the nature of America for future generations,” agency Director Martha Williams said.

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