Save The Law That Saves Our Fish

Save The Law That Saves Our Fish!

Humpback whales; bald eagles; grey wolves; the mighty Oregon chub! These are just a handful of the species that have made it back from the brink of extinction. Without the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the dedication of grassroots activists, many of the plants and animals we love would have blinked out forever.

Signed in 1973, the ESA is one of the crown jewels in America’s environmental laws, protecting species and the habitats that sustain them. Since its passage almost four decades ago, opponents of the act have sought to weaken or eliminate it entirely. And this movement is underway yet again.

We need you to add your voice today. Tell the Trump administration to withdraw the proposed regulations that will weaken the application of the Endangered Species Act. Please send your comments to Secretary Zinke and Secretary Ross by September 24 and speak out on behalf of our native, wild fish and the more than 1,300 species fighting to survive.

The Trump administration has proposed changes to the regulations that implement the ESA. If enacted, the changes will:

  • Allow non-biological considerations to play a role in listing decisions.
  • Limit the designation of critical habitat, particularly unoccupied critical habitat, that may be essential to the conservation and recovery of a species.
  • Place listed species at risk of premature delisting.
  • Weaken ESA protections for species and critical habitat when government projects are proposed and analyzed.
  • Remove blanket “take” protections for threatened species. Exemption from take for threatened species managed by National Marine Fisheries Service is a key reason we haven’t made progress for many of our threatened native fish species. Under the proposed rule changes, all threatened species, like many of our native fish, would be subject to harm, harassment, and killing unless and until the Services issue a separate rule for each individual species.

If enacted, the protection and survival of our endangered and threatened species and the habitats that sustain them will be at risk. On behalf of so many of our native fish that are in need of the protections afforded by the ESA, please submit comments today urging the Trump administration to withdraw their proposed regulation changes. Let's save the law that saves our fish!

How to Comment:

To comment, please click on the links below. Then click the Comment Now button on the upper right, and add your own comment, or copy and paste our suggested comments from below:

Suggested Comments

Dear Secretary Zinke and Secretary Ross:

I’m writing today to urge you to withdraw the proposed revisions to the implementing regulations for the Endangered Species Act. Specifically, I ask that you withdraw the proposed changes to the regulations that implement Section 4 (Revision of the Regulations for Listing Species and Designating Critical Habitat), Section 7 (Revision of the Regulations for Interagency Cooperation), and the regulation governing Section 4(d) (Revision of the Regulations for the Prohibitions to Threatened Wildlife and Plants).

The administration’s proposed regulatory changes to Section 4 of the Endangered Species Act would do nothing to improve the conservation of species and their habitats. To the contrary, the changes would undermine the listing process by opening the door to irrelevant economic concerns and hinder protection of listed species by substantially limiting the Services’ ability to protect habitats that are essential to species conservation. If finalized, these regulations would place threatened and endangered species at greater risk of extinction.

Section 7 consultation is the key check-and-balance on federal agency actions to ensure that those actions do not (1) jeopardize species’ survival and recovery and (2) destroy or degrade critical habitat. The consultation provisions of the Act have ensured that the federal government’s activities do not harm endangered species or their habitat by mandating review by the federal wildlife agencies. The administration’s proposed changes would undermine the conservation of endangered and threatened species nationwide, weaken their critical habitat, delay their recovery, and ultimately make recovery of endangered animals and plants far costlier and more difficult.

For nearly 40 years, the blanket 4(d) rule has provided protections afforded to endangered species to threatened species as a default, helping to ensure that no harm happens while the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service considers a species-specific regulation. By prohibiting take of threatened species, including harm, harassment, and killing by any person, the blanket 4(d) rule has prevented harm to hundreds of species from piping plovers to sea otters. Rescinding the rule would undercut recovery and increase extinction risk for threatened species across the country, as well as increase inefficiency at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. If the goal is truly to harmonize the approach of the two agencies, we recommend that instead of slashing protections for threatened species, NMFS adopt a similar default or blanket 4(d) rule, so that all species are afforded the same protective and precautionary approach to their conservation.

For all these reasons, I strongly recommend these proposed regulations changes to the Endangered Species Act be withdrawn.

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