Donald Trump and his Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke have declared war on the Endangered Species Act. It’s a terrible policy motivated by greed, blood-lust and a disdain for the natural world.
One part of the policy seems designed to support trophy hunters like Trump’s sons, and follows a pattern of Trump supporting the most extreme and cruel forms of sport hunting. But the real reason they’re pushing this rollback to one of the most successful environmental laws in history is to help the fossil fuel industry to a once-in-a-lifetime chance to profit off our planet at the expense of literally every living thing on earth.
We have until September 24 to file comments opposing this dangerous, unethical, backwards plan. Will you help? File a comment with us and we’ll make sure it’s delivered to DOI and the Trump team before the deadline.
For 45 years the ESA has kept plant and animal species in decline from going extinct. It’s credited with saving the hump back whale, the bald eagle, and dozens of other species.
But in the last few years, protecting threatened species like the Sage Grouse have run afoul of the avaricious plans of the oil and gas industry. Fossil fuel companies want unfettered access to mine, drill, frack and despoil every inch of our land and coastline. And the Trump team’s plan gives them everything they could ever want, and more.
The plan put forward by Zinke and his team at Trump’s DOI would end the protection for species that are called threatened, meaning they’re on the cusp of being endangered, but haven’t actually gone extinct and need to be re-populated in zoos or using other extreme measures. It would also give Trump and Zinke the chance to review which plants and animals are protected on a case-by-case basis — sure to result in many fewer protections for a tiny fraction of the species that need it.
In another part of the plan, Trump and Zinke propose to require a cost benefit analysis when deciding what species and habitat to protect. The direction of the policy is clear — if the oil industry can make a buck by driving a species extinct, they’re free to do it. But the idea of saving wildlife for wildlife’s sake is abolished from our laws.
I won’t lie, there’s very little chance Zinke and Trump can be made to listen to reason. We saw in their plan to open up ALL our coasts to oil and gas drilling that the public comment periods they held were less about public input, and more about protecting their deeply corrupt and unethical administration from legal challenges.
But there is a chance to trip them up in procedure, slow down this disastrous plan, and give our allies in Congress (yes, there are some) time to mobilize and block this plan. Submitting comments to the public record is sort of like making a permanent record of our dissent. When we combine it with protests and public outcry in the press and online, it creates a deep and rich story of how the American public is deeply opposed to these policies. That story, in turn, can be used by our allies in the legal system to sue, challenge, delay and block the implementation of this and other parts of Trump and Zinke’s agenda.
Tl;Dr if enough of us speak out right now, we CAN stop this plan. But we’ve got to file the comments right, and right now. Please, we need your help. Send a comment to the Department of Interior telling them you oppose the Trump/Zinke plan to gut the Endangered Species Act.