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Davidson News

Biden Administration Reinstates Protections for Imperiled Species

The Biden administration announced on Thursday the restoration of rules aimed at protecting imperiled plants and animals, overturning changes implemented under the previous administration led by Donald Trump. One of the key reinstatements involves blanket protections for species newly classified as threatened, eliminating the need for individual protection plans while species are under review. This move aims to counteract the rapid acceleration of extinctions globally due to habitat loss and other pressures.

Biden Administration Reinstates Protections for Imperiled Species
Source: PBS

Eliminating Economic Considerations

Under the restored rules, economic impacts will no longer be considered when determining if animals and plants require protection. Additionally, it will be easier to designate critical areas for a species’ survival, even if they are no longer present in those locations. These changes mark a significant shift away from policies enacted during the Trump era, which prioritized industry interests and weakened environmental protections.

Environmentalists’ Frustration and Republican Opposition

While environmentalists welcome the reinstatement of certain protections, they express frustration over the delay in action and the retention of some Trump-era changes. Concerns persist that future administrations could once again roll back these protections, prompting urgency in addressing environmental issues. Republican lawmakers have criticized the Biden administration’s focus on conservation over development, arguing that it hampers economic activities such as oil, gas, and coal development.

Impacts on Industries and Endangered Species

Industries such as energy, ranching, and development have long viewed the Endangered Species Act as a hindrance to their operations. The Trump administration’s efforts to weaken environmental regulations were met with approval from these sectors. However, the rollback of protections for species like the northern spotted owl and gray wolves faced legal challenges and subsequent reversals, underscoring the importance of robust conservation measures.

Biden Administration Reinstates Protections for Imperiled Species
Source: NY1

Legacy of the Endangered Species Act

The Endangered Species Act, enacted in 1973, has played a crucial role in protecting numerous species from extinction, including iconic animals like the bald eagle and California condor. With over 1,600 species currently under its protection, the Act remains a cornerstone of conservation efforts in the United States and its territories. The reinstatement of critical protections signifies a renewed commitment to preserving biodiversity and combating the threats posed by climate change and habitat degradation.

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