AUG 01, 2018 11:10 AM PDT

Goodbye to the Endangered Species Act?

The Endangered Species Act, which protects more than 2,000 plant, animal and insect species at risk of extinction, may be getting rolled back. Credited with bringing the gray wolf, bald eagle, Florida manatee, and humpback whale back from the brink of extinction, the act is now under threat as Scientific American explains: "On 19 July, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) proposed policy changes that would make it easier to delist species and harder to add new ones...Some of the bills wending their way through Congress would roll back protections on species including the Northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina) and the American burying beetle (Nicrophorus americanus)."

But, what really is on the minds of those attempting to roll back protections on species are not the species (or lack thereof) themselves - it's the land those species live on, that, under the ESA, is protected from certain human activities like logging, and oil and gas drilling. In fact, one of the new bills proposes that the ESA be changed to consider the economic consequences of listing a species (the current law only allows for the consideration of scientific knowledge).

Sources: Scientific American

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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