Protect Threatened and Endangered Species

2,644 signatures toward our 50,000 Goal

5.29% Complete

Sponsor: The Animal Rescue Site

Reverse changes to the Endangered Species Act that make it easier to strip threatened species of protections.


The US Endangered Species Act (ESA) is the United States' most effective law to protect at-risk species from extinction, having done so for 99% of species ever listed.

Passed with bipartisan support in 1973, the law allows individuals and organizations to petition to have a species listed as endangered or threatened, and requires protection for critical habitat areas and the development and implementation of recovery plans for listed species. It is also?flexible, requiring coordination among federal, state, tribal, and local officials on efforts to prevent extinction1.

In 2019, drastic changes were made to how the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is applied, weakening protections for threatened species, and making the decision of protecting a species a question of economic profit and loss2.

The measure stripped threatened species of vital safeguards, created hurdles to list species threatened by climate change, weakened protections of critical habitat, and made it easier for federal agencies to ignore the impact of government actions on listed species, including African lions, grizzly bears and elephants3.

The new regulations also directed regulators to assess economic impacts when making decisions about whether species should be listed — for example, weighing estimates on lost revenue from a prohibition on logging in a critical habitat when deciding whether a species warrants protection4 — tipping the scales against animals who happen to live in areas targeted by business operations like mining, oil drilling or development3.

The changes were finalized by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service.

The peregrine falcon, the humpback whale, the Tennessee purple coneflower and the Florida manatee all would very likely have disappeared without it, scientists say4.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service maintains that recovering any species requires a substantial time commitment. In some cases we, are attempting to combat population declines more than 200 years in the making5.

With the growing threat of climate change, the ESA is as important to the survival of these species as ever. Sign the petition below and demand the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service remove economic impact assessments from decisions involving threatened or endangered species, restore regulations that automatically apply protections to threatened plants and animals, and protect the habitat of threatened and endangered animals.

More on this issue:

  1. Jonathan Lambert, Nature? (12 August 2019), "Trump administration weakens Endangered Species Act."
  2. World Wildlife Fund (2021), "The US Endangered Species Act."
  3. Kitty Block and Sara Amundson, The Humane Society of the United States (29 January 2020), "BREAKING NEWS: Key House committee votes to reverse Trump administration?s harmful changes to Endangered Species Act."
  4. Lisa Friedman, New York Times (12 August 2019), "U.S. Significantly Weakens Endangered Species Act."
  5. Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (25 March 2019), "Recovering threatened and endangered species."
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The Petition:

Dear directors of the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service,

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is the United States' most effective law to protect at-risk species from extinction, having done so for 99% of species ever listed. Without it, the peregrine falcon, humpback whale, Tennessee purple coneflower and the Florida manatee wouldn't be around.

Recent changes to the ESA have made it harder to apply its protections to threatened and endangered species. They've made it harder to list species threatened by climate change, weakened protections of critical habitat, and given federal agencies the obligation to ignore the impact of government actions on listed species, including African lions, grizzly bears and elephants. And they've made the decision of protecting a species a question of economic profit and loss.

The Endangered Species Act was created to protect threatened and endangered animals, not trade their protections like commodities.

The people have spoken. We demand you restore the ESA by removing economic impact assessments from decisions involving threatened or endangered species, restoring regulations that automatically apply protections to threatened plants and animals, and once again protecting the habitat of threatened and endangered animals.

Sincerely,

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Signatures: