Pelosi, Democrats react to Trump action on Endangered Species Act

Donald Trump overhauls enforcement of Endangered Species Act

Democrats appeared unified Tuesday in their condemnation of the newly announced changes coming to the Endangered Species Act and promised to fight those changes through court action.

That reaction came a day after the Trump administration announced revisions to the  law, which in 1973 established a program aimed at conserving plants and animals facing extinction.

The administration’s finalized rule makes it easier to remove the endangered designation and allow for a cost analysis when considering protections of species.

Critics say the revisions will hurt species at the same time the United Nations is warning that climate change and human actions are causing drastic effects on extinction rates.

More: Trump administration overhauls Endangered Species Act as critics fear animal extinction

Trump administration officials in the past have explained the changes as adding more transparency to the process of protecting species. While the reforms were still in the proposal stage last year, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Principal Deputy Director Greg Sheehan said  they were aimed at “reducing the regulatory burden on the American people.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement that House Democrats will continue working against climate change.

“This latest disastrous decision deals a devastating blow to our natural inheritance and shamefully abandons our moral responsibility to be good stewards of our planet and its precious resources, all to help out big corporations and polluters,” she said.

The administration’s decision is “a slap in the face to those fighting to address the climate crisis,” said New York Sen. Chuck Schumer in a statement. 

Schumer also tweeted Monday: “Once again, the Trump administration is prioritizing profits for big oil ahead of the health & safety of our planet & future generations.” 

Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern noted that the Endangered Species Act was passed with bipartisan support in 1973, under Republican President Richard Nixon.

“The Endangered Species Act is one of America’s most powerful success stories. … It serves as a model for what we can accomplish when Washington sets aside political differences and works together for the good of our country,” he wrote in a statement.

The California and Massachusetts attorneys general have already promised lawsuits to fight the Trump administration’s action, according to the Associated Press. 

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a joint statement, “We’re ready to fight to preserve this important law – the species with whom we share this planet, and depend on, deserve no less.”

Democratic presidential candidates also weighed in on the overhaul.

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