Trump Targets the Endangered Species Act
Environment

Trump Targets the Endangered Species Act

The Latest Moves Clear Manatees and Other Wildlife for Slaughter; Next in the Crosshairs Are Yellowstone’s Grizzlies

The future of the grizzly bear and other endangered species is up to the Trump Administration, the same people who said it’s just fine to kill hibernating bears and their cubs in Alaska.

The Trump crew could decide by this summer whether to remove grizzly bears in Yellowstone National Park from the Endangered Species Act.

“It’s more critical than ever to maintain endangered species protections for grizzly bears,” said Andrea Santarsiere, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity.

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The Endangered Species Act, signed into law by former President Richard Nixon in 1973, helped save the bald eagle and the American alligator, which were on the verge of extinction 40 years ago but have thrived under the act’s protections. The law had strong support from Republicans in the 1970s, but it is under increased attack from what the party of Abraham Lincoln has become.

More than 1,600 species have been listed as endangered or threatened under the law. Less than 50 have been removed.

Jamie Pang, who tracks legislation for the Center for Biological Diversity, said she has seen an average of one bill every four days targeting the Endangered Species Act since Trump took office.

“It’s basically uncontrolled in whatever petty desire they have,” she said.

Modern-day Republicans say the act “is not working today.” At least one, Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), wants to repeal the Endangered Species Act.

Congress has Republicans in it today who don’t care about keeping animals in our country from going extinct because the oil and gas industry and agribusiness are stuffing as much money into our elected representatives as they can.

The 2010 Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling in Citizens United gave companies a green light to spend whatever they could afford, or more, to advance their interests in political campaigns.

Trump’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services has taken manatees, slow-moving, aquatic relatives of the elephant, off the endangered species list. Trump delayed endangered status for a species of bumblebee. And Trump’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services plans to take the scarlet-chested parrot and the turquoise parrot from the federal list of endangered and threatened wildlife. The change would become effective May 5.

Bishop, the Utah representative who wants to repeal the Endangered Species Act, is one of five lawmakers behind most of the attacks on the act, according to a 2015 report from the Center for Biological Diversity. The other lawmakers are Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.), Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas).

The center found that Republican attacks on the law increased as the oil and gas industry and agribusiness funneled more cash to Congress. Oil and gas financial contributions to Congress jumped from $24 million in 2010 to an average of $30.4 million a year after the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United. Agribusiness donations jumped from $46.8 million in 2010 to an average of $51.4 million a year.

ACTION BOX / What you can do about it

Call Ryan Zinke, the secretary of the Department of the Interior at 202-208-3100 or write him at U.S. Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20240.

April 6, 2017