Is Trump Really Gutting the Endangered Species Act?

Two weeks ago, the Trump administration released its proposals to change some of the rules for the Endangered Species Act. Most media coverage of the release would have you think that all the proposals will undercut species conservation. Is that accurate? I read the proposals carefully and believe the answer is “no.” I found 36 distinct proposals in the rulemaking package. Although some would harm conservation, many others merely codify existing practice (bookkeeping). I even found six proposals that would likely improve conservation–almost no one has talked about those.

Today, the Innovation Center released a report that offers our initial analysis of the most controversial or notable proposals. We also created an interactive online table that describes all 36 proposals and includes our initial opinion on how each one could affect conservation. The infographic below summarizes this analysis (each dot represents one proposal).

We will offer additional insights on the proposals as we continue to research them. For now, we hope that our report can counteract the hyperbole about the proposals and foster a more constructive and accurate dialogue about the future of the Act. If conservationists want to maintain their credibility and find practical solutions, they cannot afford to cry wolf over everything.

1 thought on “Is Trump Really Gutting the Endangered Species Act?”

  1. I agree with most of your assessment — I posted my own analysis that is considerably less user friendly, so thank you for publishing this report.

    I also agree that conservationists need to avoid crying wolf and focus on moving the needle in meaningful ways. Ironically, I was linked to your analysis by a certain OpEd on TheHill that is really a textbook example of hyperbole. The author (apparently) read your work, but still decided to end with “Would we be satisfied with a nation in which our children and grandchildren would not have known the bald eagle, gray wolf, grizzly bear, peregrine falcon, or American alligator?”

    Keep up the good work!

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