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By Jennifer Weeks
The Trump administration has announced rule changes that alter how it will enforce the 1973 Endangered Species Act, which protects threatened and endangered species and their habitats. Among these changes, officials can now consider potential costs in deciding whether to list a species. The new policies will make it easier to delist species, and are likely to shrink areas set aside as critical habitat to help species recover.
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John Paul Stevens, the retired Supreme Court Justice who wrote the opinion granting environmental agencies the power to regulate greenhouse gases, died Tuesday at the age of 99. His decision gave the U.S. government important legal tools for fighting the climate crisis.
Many fish, marine mammals and seabirds that inhabit the world's oceans are critically endangered, but few are as close to the brink as the North Atlantic right whale ( Eubalaena glacialis). Only about 411 of these whales exist today, and at their current rate of decline, they could become extinct within our lifetimes.
From 1980 through about 2010, conservation efforts focused mainly on protecting whales from being struck by ships. Federal regulations helped reduce vessel collisions and supported a slight rebound in right whale numbers.
The study looked at 31 populations of 19 species of marine mammals and sea turtles in the U.S. that had been granted endangered species protections and found that around three-quarters of them had increased in size.
The trispot darter fish was thought to be entirely extinct in Alabama for more than 50 years until it was discovered in 2008 in Little Canoe Creek. Now, 10 years later, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has finalized protections for the 1.5 inch fish, earmarking more than 180 miles of river as "critical habitat."
EcoWatch has long documented attempts by the Trump administration's Interior Department to weaken Endangered Species Act protections, but what does that mean for individual species? That is the question the Endangered Species Coalition set out to answer in a new report, which outlines how President Donald Trump's proposed policies could impact 10 vulnerable animal species.
In Weyerhaeuser v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), landowners had sued to stop the federal government from designating private land in Louisiana as "critical habitat" for the dusky gopher frog, which currently only lives in the De Soto National Forest in Mississippi. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans had upheld the FWS decision to protect the land, but the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday to send the case back to the appeals court, asking the lower court to reconsider some key issues.
Here at EcoWatch, we love red wolves. Seriously, I challenge you to watch this video of "Four Weeks Young" wolves at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, North Carolina and not fall in love:
Aurelia Skipwith, who Western Values Project Executive Director Chris Saeger called "a darling of corporate special interests," worked at the agribusiness giant for more than six years. She has since worked at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Department of the Interior (DOI).