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.