Bill would repeal Trump ESA rule changes

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., is one of three members of Congress to introduce legislation that would repeal three Trump administration rules changes to the Endangered Species Act.

The rule changes weaken the way the United States protects threatened and endangered species, said Cantwell and bill co-sponsors U.S. Rep. Raul M. Grijalva, D-Ariz., and Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M.

Under the new rules, the administration can ignore long-term threats to wildlife from climate change and remove guaranteed protections to threatened species listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, essentially nullifying the protective value of a threatened listing, said the sponsors.

“It’s hard to believe the Trump administration wants to roll back protections essential for preserving endangered American wildlife, which are representative of the health of our environment,” said Cantwell. “We owe it to our children and their children to save orcas, polar bears and even sage grouse living and thriving in their natural habitat.

“We cannot let polluters ruin our environment. The Endangered Species Act is one of the best tools we have to apply science toward recovering at-risk species and our environment at large."

They said 99 percent of species listed under the ESA have not gone extinct and the act continues to enjoy bipartisan support across the country. Members of the public submitted hundreds of thousands of comments decrying Trump’s proposed changes during a public comment period earlier this year.

In addition to Cantwell and Udall, the Senate legislation is cosponsored by Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.; Cory Booker, D-N.J.; Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.; Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii; Kamala Harris, D-Calif.; Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., and Bob Menendez, D-N.J.

House legislation is cosponsored by Grijalva, plus Don Beyer, D-Va.; Debbie Dingell, D-Mich.; Suzanne Bonamici, D-Ore.; Ed Case, D-Hawaii; Steve Cohen, D-Tenn.; Jared Huffman, D-Calif.; Ted Lieu, D-Calif.; Alan Lowenthal, D-Calif.; Nita Lowey, D-N.Y.; A. Donald McEachin, D-Va.; Jim McGovern, D-Mass.; Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Fla.; Joe Neguse, D-Colo.; Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-Washington, D.C.; Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif.; Katie Porter, D-Calif.; Mike Quigley, D-Ill.; Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, D-Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands; Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Donna Shalala, D-Fla.