The Trump administration announced Monday, Aug. 12, a major overhaul of the Endangered Species Protection Act in the United States. This law signed by Richard Nixon is today the main legislative tool for the protection of American flora and fauna. The US government decides to relax it largely to the chagrin of environmentalists and the Democratic camp who denounce a reform solely guided by economic interests.
With our correspondent in Los Angeles, Eric de Salve
According to scientists, since the 1970s this law has saved from extinction some of the most emblematic species of the United States: white-tailed eagle, grizzly bear, alligator, humpback whale, or peregrine falcon. In total more than 1,600 endangered species are on this list today.
But for the Trump administration, this legislation is a drag on growth, " an unnecessary burden for businesses, " in the words of the Minister of the Interior.
David Bernhardt, a former lobbyist in the oil industry announces his easing. So far, only scientific criteria had to be taken into account to protect a species; with the reform, it will first be necessary to evaluate the economic impact of its protection.
The reform will also allow the government to make a more discretionary decision on which new species are at risk. Finally, the determination of the risk of extinction will not take into account the climate change considered by the UN as one of the main factors of extinction of species in the future.
The Trump administration does not hide it, this reform aims to facilitate the construction of oil drilling, mines and gas pipelines in protected areas.
Environmental advocates and Democrats are up against this reform. " The Trump Government is planting a new nail in our coffin, " stormed the California Attorney General who, along with several other states, is already promising everything to block it in the courts.
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