The Trump administration’s weakening of the Endangered Species Act is being criticized. “This is the wrong time to be weakening the federal Endangered Species Act,” said George Meyer, a former Wisconsin DNR Secretary and President of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation.
Under the enforcement changes, federal officials for the first time will be able to publicly attach a cost to saving an animal or plant. “And in most situations, a particular species, while it may be valuable for biological reasons and diversity reasons, isn’t a big moneymaker in terms of economics,” Meyer said.
Meyer said the changes will make it more difficult to protect critical habitat. “As we’re being impacted by climate change, habitat for species changes.” The action could allow the government to disregard the possible impact of climate change. “So land or water areas that need to be protected for the future for species, will not be able to be protected under the act,” Meyer said.
The Endangered Species Act is credited with helping save scores of animals and plants from extinction since President Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1973. The act currently protects more than 1,600 species. In Wisconsin, animals listed as endangered include the American Marten and Piping Plover.