Sept. 18 (UPI) — Democrats proposed legislation Tuesday to combat a Trump administration rule rolling back protections for endangered species.
House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Rep. Raul M. Grijalva, D-Ariz., and the lead Democrat on the Senate appropriations subcommittee on the interior, Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., introduced legislation to repeal all three final rule changes to the Endangered Species Act implemented by the administration earlier this year.
“The Trump effort to gut the Endangered Species Act turns a blind eye to the science that tells us we should be enhancing wildlife habitat protections not dismantling them at the behest of special interests,” Udall said.
The U.S. Interior Department announced the reforms in August, limiting which animals can be placed on the endangered species list and limiting how far into the future the department looks to determine if a species will become threatened or extinct.
Additionally, the changes allowed the government to make economic considerations when deciding threats to wildlife.
Grijalva described the rollbacks as “handouts to special interests that want to keep lining their pockets regardless of the consequences.”
“If we don’t stop the Trump administration’s short-sighted rollbacks, more wildlife habitats will be sacrificed to oil and gas development,” he added.
Conservationists have also filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco challenging the revisions on the grounds that it makes it more difficult for them to win protections on animal habitats and would accelerate the animals’ decline.