- Under Trump, officials rolled back protections for the northern spotted owl, gray wolves and other species.
- The rules put in place by the Trump administration opened the door to consideration of economic factors in decisions for species protections.
- Each of the Biden administration’s new recommended actions will undergo a rigorous and transparent rulemaking process.
The Biden administration announced Friday that it will be reversing several policies put in place during the Trump administration related to endangered or threatened species.
The reviews by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service are aimed at five Endangered Species Act regulations finalized by the Trump administration, including critical habitat designations and rules defining the scope of federal actions on endangered species.
The Trump-era regulations opened the door to consideration of economic factors in decisions for species protections, weakened protections for critical habitat and left threatened species without guaranteed protections, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.
Speaking about the Biden administration’s announcement, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service principal deputy director Martha Williams said Friday that “the Fish and Wildlife Service is committed to working with diverse federal, Tribal, state and industry partners to not only protect and recover America’s imperiled wildlife but to ensure cornerstone laws like the Endangered Species Act are helping us meet 21st century challenges.”
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The agency looks forward to “continuing these conservation collaborations and to ensuring our efforts are fully transparent and inclusive,” Williams added.
Under Trump, officials rolled back protections for the northern spotted owl, gray wolves and other species, actions that President Joe Biden had vowed to review.
The reviews announced Friday will take months or years to complete.
“We’re grateful to see that these terrible Trump administration regulations that undermine critical protections for endangered wildlife will be rescinded or revised,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity.
“We hope the Biden administration acts quickly so no more harm can come to grizzly bears, whooping cranes and so many more,” he said.
However, Jonathan Wood, a lawyer for the Pacific Legal Foundation, a conservative law firm that advocates for property rights, said the Biden proposals could backfire by removing incentives for landowners to cooperate in helping imperiled wildlife.
“There were some things in the Trump rules that were right,” Wood said, citing regulations that he said offered needed flexibility and better incentives to recover endangered species.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, each of the Biden administration’s new recommended actions will undergo a rigorous and transparent rulemaking process, including publication of a proposed rule in the Federal Register, a public comment period and coordination with federally recognized Tribes before being finalized.
Contributing: The Associated Press