Carper Blasts the Trump Administration’s New Attempts to Undercut the Endangered Species Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee issued a statement after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries announced rollbacks of key sections of the Endangered Species Act (ESA):

“The new regulations included in today’s announcement undercut vital sections of the Endangered Species Act that may harm imperiled species and are yet more examples of the Trump Administration catering to industry instead of the interests of the American people,” said Senator Carper. “I’ve called on this Administration to work with Congress to fully fund the Endangered Species Act, instead of trying to weaken it because we know when the ESA is adequately resourced, it works. The Endangered Species Act, which is helping to recover the Red Knot and Piping Plover in Delaware, continues to be one of our country’s most popular and successful environmental protection laws. That’s why I’ll continue to fight misguided decisions like those announced today.”

Among other revisions to existing policies, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries proposed regulations would:

  • Remove the phrase “without reference to possible economic or other impacts of such determination” from the law when listing endangered species. This change could undermine best available science, which should remain the sole driver of listing decisions.
  • Change how the Services consider “foreseeable future” when determining whether a species should be listed as threatened. This change could severely limit protections for endangered species most affected by climate change.
  • The Services are also seeking comments on limiting input from federal agencies directly impacted by decisions made by other agencies in the Endangered Species Act consultation process.

On Tuesday, during an Environment and Public Works Committee hearing, Senator Carper raised concerns over changes to the Endangered Species Act proposed by Senate Republicans. He pointed out that the proposed changes could prevent the best science from guiding species management, especially in an administration that consistently denies and undermines science.