Zinke’s Interior Deptartment Seeks to Undermine Protections for Endangered Species

Melissa Smith

In response to today’s release by Secretary Ryan Zinke’s Department of Interior regarding draft regulations to weaken protections for America’s most at-risk fish, plants and wildlife, Friends of the Wisconsin Wolf & Wildlife has put out a statement opposing this outrageous move.

Among the proposals are:

  • Changes to the requirement that federal agencies consult with expert wildlife agencies and scientists when seeking permits for projects such as logging or oil and gas drilling operations.
  • Removal of the existing protection against “take” — meaning harassment, hunting, shooting, trapping, wounding, or other harm — for any newly-listed threatened species.
  • Alterations to the process of listing species and designating habitat for their protection and recovery under the Endangered Species Act.

“Under the guise of reform or modernization, we are seeing a full-on assault on imperiled wildlife and the Endangered Species Act.

From these Trump-Zinke administrative regulations, to a Rep. Rob Bishop-led barrage of bills in the House, to a draft bill to undermine the Act by Senator Barrasso in the Senate, this is all part and parcel of the Trump administration’s industry and polluter-friendly deregulation agenda. The Western Great Lakes and it’s wildlife are irreplaceable and need immediate and continued protection.

The Endangered Species Act is our nation’s most effective law for protecting wildlife in danger of extinction, and has prevented more than 99 percent of listed species from going extinct. The Endangered Species Act already allows for flexibility in protecting endangered wildlife and requires that federal agencies work together with state, tribal and local officials work to prevent extinction.

We know that strong majorities, across the political spectrum, support the Endangered Species Act and want wildlife decisions to be made by biologists and wildlife professionals, not politicians in Congress. (2015 Tulchin poll)

Rather than making detrimental changes to a law that works, Congress and the Administration should improve the law’s implementation by fully funding recovery efforts for endangered species.” – Melissa Smith, Executive Director

More Information

Although some members of Congress have been seeking to weaken the Act, public opinion research indicates that the law continues to maintain broad, bipartisan, public support. A 2015 poll conducted by Tulchin Research found that 90 percent of American voters across all political, regional and demographic lines support the Endangered Species Act.

The Endangered Species Act was a landmark conservation law that passed with overwhelming bipartisan support: 92-0 in the Senate, and 394-4 in the House. In 2017, more than 400 organizations signed a letter to members of Congress opposing efforts to weaken the Endangered Species Act, noting the law has a 99 percent success rate, including some of the country’s most exciting wildlife recoveries, like the bald eagles, Whooping Cranes, Grey Wolves, Channel Island foxes, Karner Blue Butterlies, coneflowers, and more.

Scientific consensus indicates that we are in the sixth wave of extinction. The main tool in the United States to battle this human-caused crisis is the Endangered Species Act, which has been very effective in keeping species from sliding into extinction.

One thought on “Zinke’s Interior Deptartment Seeks to Undermine Protections for Endangered Species

  1. Stop killing our wildlife. They were created before you were and that’s what you can’t stand. They are even smarter than a lot of y’all cruel ass people. I will always fight to save our wolves and wildlife.


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